Monday, 24 April 2017

Widnes Wildcats Announce Summer Cup Fixtures

The Widnes Wildcats have announced their Summer Cup fixtures for the 2017 competition.   The first home game is Sunday 7th May at Silver Blades Widnes when they face the Whitley Bay Islanders in a 4.30pm face off.

All of the home games are on Sundays and are mainly 4.30pm face offs, although the game against Solihull Vikings on 28th May faces off at 8.30pm after the Riverside Raiders home game. The following home game – on 11th June against the Durham Dragons - is also an 8.30pm face off. Admission to all home games is free!

The full list is as follows (home games are in bold):
 
7th May: home vs Whitley Bay Islanders – 4.30pm
14th May: home vs Blackburn Falcons – 4.30pm
28th May: home vs Solihull Vikings – 8.30pm  (after Raiders game)
11th June: home vs Durham Dragons – 8.30pm
18th June: away @ Solihull Vikings – 7.30pm
1st & 2nd July: RecFest @ Ice Sheffield
16th July: home vs Kingston Cobras – 4.30pm
22nd July: away @ Kingston Cobras – 5pm
23rd July: away @ Blackburn Falcons – 6pm
30th July: home vs Grimsby Lightning – 4.30pm (double points)
5th Aug 5th: away @ Durham Dragons – 12 noon
6th Aug: home vs Cleveland Comets – 4.30pm
19th Aug: away @ Cleveland Comets – 5.30pm
20th Aug: away @ Whitley Bay Islanders – 12 noon.

You can find out more about this year’s summer cup competition via the Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/summercuphockey/ or the website at  http://www.summercup.co.uk/

Monday, 17 April 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Raiders Keep 100% Record After Seagulls Win

Sunday 16th April 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 6 – Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 2
Period Scores: 2-0, 1-0, 3-2
Penalties In Minutes: Raiders 6 – Seagulls 10

Raiders Scoring:  Gez Lewis 3+0, Sam Plant 1+2, Owen Tennant 1+1, Tom Yates 1+0, Adam Murphy, Ben Donkin, Elizabeth Wright all 0+1

The Riverside Raiders consolidated their position at the top of the Summer Classic league table with an impressive 6-2 win over Wyre Seagulls at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

Following on from their 1-5 win away in Sheffield the previous week, this gives them a 100% start to their campaign in the 5-team league which also includes teams from Sheffield, Grimsby and another team from Blackburn. 

The Raiders made a flying start to the game, taking the lead after just 1 minute with a fine strike by Gez Lewis, assisted by Sam Plant.  A little under 2 minutes later, it was 2-0 to the Raiders as Lewis, again, picked up a rebound off the Wyre netminder and slotted the puck into the net.

Once they had got over this initial setback, the Wyre Seagulls upped their game and put some impressive plays together themselves. Both teams spent the remainder of the period trying to not to give anything away and the score remained 2-0 at the first break.

The Seagulls looked much better all round in the second period and looked the more likely to score until they started picking up penalties, which broke their momentum and left them shorthanded.

The Raiders scored their third goal at 32.38 – a well taken individual effort by Owen Tennant – and the game looked to be gradually slipping away from the visitors.

The third period started off in much the same vein as the second with the Wyre Seagulls quickest out of the blocks.  They thought they had scored their opening goal just 19 seconds from the restart but the referee had already blown the whistle to halt the play before the puck crossed the line.

A 4th goal for the Raiders came at 44.55 as Tom Yates fired in his first goal for the team after some excellent skating around the net by Adam Murphy and it looked as if the home side had this game well and truly in the bag. A powerplay opportunity on a slashing penalty against the Seagulls saw them push forward to try and extend their lead but they were caught out by a Wyre breakaway and the away side scored their first goal, short-handed, to pull the score back to 4-1.    

If any nerves had begun to jangle on the home bench at this point, they were quickly dispelled when Gez Lewis scored his hattrick goal – and the Raiders’ 5th - with just under 10 minutes left in the game.

The Raiders thought they had scored again just 2 minutes later when the puck crossed the Wyre goal-line. Unfortunately, the Seagulls netminder also went into the net and, with all the accompanying pushing and shoving around the goal crease, the goal was not allowed.

Less than a minute after that, however, it was pretty much all over as Sam Plant picked up on some great forward passing from Owen Tennant and Elizabeth Wright to score the Raiders’ 6th goal.

The clock ticked down slowly towards the Raiders’ victory but much credit must go to the visitors who put up a battling performance throughout and never gave up for a second.  Their tenacity eventually paid off – albeit too late to affect the result -when they scored their second goal of the game with just 2 seconds left in the final period.

The result leaves the Riverside Raiders top of the Summer Classic league table with 4 points from their 2 games so far. 

The Raiders are next in action on Saturday 13th May when they travel to the east coast to face the Grimsby Stormers, and their next home game is the following weekend – on Sunday 21st May - when they play Grimsby at Silver Blades Widnes.

Before that, however, the Widnes Wildcats team are in competitive action as they play their first home game in the Summer Cup competition on Sunday 7th May against Cleveland Comets at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.   

Monday, 10 April 2017

Aces & Metros Reunion Game At Altrincham - 8th April 2017

Photo by Dean Edgar - see bottom of post for list of names
Saturday 8th April 2017 – Silver Blades Altrincham
Altrincham Aces & Trafford Metros Reunion Game
Black Team 13 – White Team 9

Black Team - Bench coach: Dave Shepherd
Stephen Shepherd, Nick Crawley (2 goals), Mark Thomas, Ged Smith (4 goals), Paul Fleury (2 goals), Stephen Elliot (1 goal), Brian Collier, Ian Hough, Steve Fellows (4 goals), Bernie Snagg, Arran Richardson, Kevin Cassidy, Dave Clancy - nm (SOG 48)

White Team - Bench Coach: Tony Lacey
Alan Hough (1 goal), Ari Mikkolla, Greg Allen (3 goals), Russ Richardson (1 goal), Simon Mills (1 goal)
Gary Shearman, Willy Broadhurst (2 goals), Martyn Barratt, Chris Mills, Paul Morgan, Steve Nurse, Andy Bennett, Ian Broomfield, Billy Price (1 goal), John McGarrigle - nm (SOG 50)

What started off as an idea for a bit of a fun scrimmage between a few old teammates turned into something much bigger as the first Former Altrincham Aces and Trafford Metros Players Reunion game took place at Silver Blades Altrincham on Saturday.

This was the first meeting up for many of those old players since the farewell tournament when the old Devonshire Road rink was closed in 2003 and there were lots of great names from the good old days on view.

The timing of the game was rather unfortunate as the date chosen coincided with the appearance of the modern day Altrincham Aces in the NIHL North Laidler Conference play offs in Sheffield for the very first time but, luckily, their semi-final game against Widnes Wild faced off at 10.30 in the morning meaning that there was plenty of time for devotees to race back across the Pennine to be back for this event in the afternoon.

The match brought together players who had played in the Southern League days of the 1970s such as Bernie Snagg and Ged Smith along with lots of memorable names from the 80s and 90s teams as well.  It was refereed by Paul Bayliss who played for Aces and Metros teams for over 20 years and went on to be a well-respected manager and coach at the Altrincham rink.

Long term management duo Keith Purvis and Graham Horlock were in attendance - along with other former players, friends, family members and hockey fans from across the north west who wanted to support the occasion - and former Aces, Metros, Oxford  and Blackburn import Ari Pekka Mikkola even came all the from Finland to play in the game.  

Rather than having “Aces v Metros” - which would, in fact, been very difficult to arrange as many of the players had played for both teams over the years – the players were divided into two roughly equal teams wearing black or white shirts.

As is the case with such occasions, the result on the ice was relatively unimportant when compared to the nostalgia and camaraderie that accompanied it off-ice but, for the record, the Black team won 13-9 with Ged Smith and Steve Fellows both top-scoring with 4 goals each. Greg Allen was the top scorer for the White team with 3 strikes.

There was also a raffle and £170 was raised in aid of the Trafford Tornados Junior club.

Organiser Stephen Shepherd said: “The game was played in a competitive spirit - bearing in mind it was originally just meant to be a group of lads that got together for a scrimmage. I really enjoyed the whole occasion. A lot of people who used to come and watch us play turned up, which was great, and people have suggested that we should do it again.  If we do – I think we’ll need to put more planning into it!”



Aces & Metros Reunion Game Photo by Dean Edgar

Back Row, Andy Bennett, Simon Mills, Steve Nurse, Ari Mikkola, Ian Broomfield, Paul Broadhurst, Greg Allen, Billy Price, Alan Hough Steven Fellows, Mark Thomas, Tony Lacey, Paul Morgan, David Shepherd, John McGarrigle, Stephen Elliott, Ian McDade.

Front Row, Gary Shearman, Dave Clancy, Bernie Snagg, Ged Smith, Nick Crawley, Kev Cassidy, Russ Richardson, Stephen Shepherd, Arran Richardson, Brian Collier.

Riverside Raiders Win Summer Classic Opener In Sheffield

Photo by James Birtwistle
Saturday 8th April 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Sheffield Ice Tigers 1 – Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 5
Period Scores:  0-2, 0-2, 1-1
Penalties In Minutes:  Tigers 14 – Raiders 8

Raiders Scoring: Anthony Hughes 2+0, Gez Lewis 2+1, Sam Plant 1+0, Charlie Perry (nm), Peter O’Mahony, Jordan Birtwistle, Owen Tennant all 0+1

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders got their Puckstop Summer Classic campaign off to a winning start with a 1-5 win away to Sheffield Ice Tigers in the Steel City on Saturday night.

Because the game was arranged for the same day that the iceSheffield venue was staging 4 semi-final games in the NIHL North play offs, the Raiders’ game didn’t face off until 10.30pm and finished well after midnight.  

The Raiders scored the first goal of the game after 11 minutes through Anthony Hughes – who was playing his first ever game – assisted by Jordan Birtwistle, and that goal remained the difference between the two teams at the first break.

Two more goals for the Raiders in the second period – by Gez Lewis (31.04 – assist Charlie Perry) and Hughes again (34.10 – assist Peter O’Mahony) – pretty much put the game beyond the reach of their hosts and a fourth goal from Lewis – his second of the game - at 45.19 (asst Owen Tennant) looked to have killed the game off.

The Ice Tigers scored a consolation goal at 51.21 while the Raiders were shorthanded on a roughing penalty but the 4-goal advantage was restored at 54.48 when Sam Plant scored ,assisted by Lewis, to round off the scoring for the night.

The Riverside Raiders are in home action next Sunday 16th April when they face the Blackburn-based Wyre Seagulls in their next Summer Classic game at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is 4.30pm and admission is free.      

Friday, 31 March 2017

NIHL North Play Off Weekend Videos - Pre Order Now

You can now pre-order your very own DVD or digital highlights of this year’s NIHL North Playoffs being held at iceSheffield on the 8th & 9th April.

This year you can also buy a copy of any full game on DVD or via digital version.

- Highlights: DVD £10 (+£1 P&P) or digital version £7.99

- Full game: DVD £5 (+£1 P&P) or digital version £3.49

All of these include match commentary, previews, analysis and interviews as well as replays, slow motion and goal cameras! Better still, you will be supporting British hockey with your order as the teams will receive part of every purchase!

Orders will also be able to be placed at the Playoffs weekend, though we advise purchasing online which you will be able to from until a month after the Playoffs have been held

For more information or to place your order – go to www.pyromedia.co/NIHL

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Bandy "Try It" Session at Planet Ice Peterborough, Sunday 19th March

There’s a great opportunity to be involved in a little bit of ice sport history next Sunday 19th March as the first bandy event to be staged in this country for 100 years will take place at Peterborough Planet Ice arena – with an opportunity for ice skaters to go along and give the game a try.

It is a fitting venue for the renaissance as the game was originally played on the frozen fens back in the 1890s but lost its popularity in this country after the First World War, although it has continued to be a highly popular sport in many other countries to this day.

A new English Bandy Federation was set up earlier this year and members are now spreading the word and encouraging new people to become interested in the sport.

The driving force behind this project is new EBF President Lyn Gibb-de Swarte, a long term speed skater and coach who was also a founder member of the Streatham Strikers women’s ice hockey in the early 1980s.  She has announced plans for a purpose built 100m x 60m indoor bandy ice field – the only one in the country – at a new proposed “Littleport Ice Stadium” - to be constructed at Littleport near Ely in Cambridgeshire, which is in the very heart of fen skating country.

The facility will also have the only 400 meter speed skating track in the country, which will help introduce new people to that sport and also save British competitors having to travel to Holland for training and competitions – as that is where the nearest  full size oval track is situated.

The game of bandy has been described as both “soccer on ice, and ice hockey with a ball” and Lyn sums it up as” Bandy is a fast, skillful, non-contact sport that any skater can play - and the kit doesn’t cost a fortune either. It’s great fun to watch too, with similar rules to soccer.”

You don’t need have to have played any sort of ice sport before to be able to join in the session, although a basic level of skating ability is necessary.

The bandy try-it event at Peterborough runs from 8pm to 9.30pm on Sunday 19th March and includes a half hour introduction to the game followed by an hour on the ice.  The cost is £5 per person and FREE for under-16s.  Balls and sticks will be provided  

The event will be overseen by top bandy coaches from Sweden and also the Czech Head Coach Michael Bratt who has over 20 years’ experience coaching in Sweden, Holland & Russia and now back in his native land.

To find out more about the game of bandy and forthcoming events, check out the English Bandy Federation’s website HERE

 

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Riverside Raiders (Widnes) Announce Summer Classic Dates

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders recreational team have announced they they will be taking part in the 2017 Summer Classic competition, sponsored by www.puckstock.com . 

The competition consists of 5 teams who will play each other home and away on a league basis. The other teams are the Sheffield Ice Tigers B team – who play their home games at iceSheffield, Blackburn Buccaneers and Wyre Seagulls who both play at Blackburn Arena and Grimsby Stormers whose rink has now been granted a six month reprieve and will now - happily - be able to host home games.
 
The Riverside Raiders fixtures are as follows (home dates in bold):

Saturday 8th April 2017: away @ Sheffield Ice Tigers “B” – 10.30pm  
Sunday 16th April 2017: home v Wyre Seagulls - 4.30pm
Saturday 13th May 2017:  away @ Grimsby Stormers (new date added...)
Sunday 21st May 2017: home v Grimsby Stormers - 4.30pm
Sunday 28th May 2017: home v Sheffield Ice Tigers “B” Home - 4.30pm
Saturday 3rd June 2017: away @ Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) - 6pm
Saturday 8th July 2017: away @ Blackburn Buccaneers - 6pm  
Sunday 23rd July 2017: home v Blackburn Buccaneers - 4.30pm

The Raiders home games are all at Silver Blades Widnes with 4.30pm face off times and free admission. You can follow the Riverside Raiders via their Facebook page HERE

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Altrincham Aces / Trafford Metros Reunion Match - 8th April at Silver Blades Altrincham

For anybody who remembers the good old days of the Heineken British League period - which was a golden age for our sport in terms of rink building, league expansion, TV coverage and development of British players -  here is an event not to be missed.

A special reunion game featuring players from the Altrincham Aces and Trafford Metros teams from that memorable period is being staged at the Silver Blades rink in Altrincham on Saturday 8th April. Admission is £3 per person and face off is at 4.30pm.  The cafĂ© and bar will be open and a souvenir match programme is being prepared.   

Final line ups have yet to be announced but there will be two teams of Aces and Metros legends with the following players having already been confirmed:

Stephen Shepherd, Ian Hough, Alan Hough, Ged Smith, Brian Collier, Nick Crawley, Tony Harcourt, Pete Broadhurst, Paul Broadhurst, Paul Fleury, Simon Mills, Russ Richardson, Arran Richardson, Martyn Barratt, Tony Casson, Gregg Allen, Kevin Cassidy, Steve Nurse, Paul Morgan, Bernie Snagg, Laurence Paul, Andy Bennett, Ian Broomfield, Billy Price, Gary Shearman, Brian Jokat, Ari Mikkola

Netminders: John Dunford, John McGarrigle, Charlie Birch, Dave Clancy
Bench Coaches: Dave Shepherd & Tony Lacey
Match Officials:  Paul Bayliss & Les Heighway
Goal Judges: Gary Weightman & Nigel Higgs

For more information - and to keep up with the latest event news - join the event page on Facebook HERE

There will be a 50/50 draw and a raffle / tombola on the day to raise funds for the Trafford Tornados Junior club.  Prizes are keenly sought for the raffle and any donations can be handed to an event organiser, Tornados club official or at the Altrincham rink box office.  


Last Few Copies of IHR 2016 Still Available - order YOURS Now!

While everybody is enjoying the climax to yet another thrilling of NIHL ice hockey and looking forward to cup finals, play offs and the like, don’t forget that you can relive all the excitement of LAST season’s competitions in the Ice Hockey Review 2016 NIHL Yearbook.

It covers all teams that played in NIHL North and South Divisions 1&2 in the 2015/2016 season with facts, figures and photos covering all league cup and play off competitions – and a lot more besides.

You can order your copy by mail order  HERE  or you can also get copies form Chris Randall on the Isle of Wight.

Also - for the first time, copies are available to buy from Silver Blades ice rink shops at Widnes, Blackburn, Solihull, Altrincham, Gillingham and Cannock.  

As soon as this season is finished, we will be starting work on the 2017 NIHL Yearbook and details of our special earlybird offers will be announced during the summer.

Big thanks to Matt Donnachie of Pyro Media for this great photo ( http://pyromedia.co/ )

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Antony Morris Memorial Cup Game At Widnes - 8th January 2017

There’s an early New Year opportunity for sports fans to enjoy an entertaining evening out and support two very good causes as the annual Antony Morris Memorial cup ice hockey game is staged at the Silver Blades ice rink in Widnes on Sunday 8th January 2017.

Antony was a recreational player with the Widnes Wildcats and he died after a fall on a night out in Liverpool in November 2015 aged just 29.

The game will be played between the two Widnes senior recreational teams, the Widnes Wildcats and the Riverside Raiders, and funds raised on the night will be split between the Ronald McDonald House charity which enables families to remain close by while their children are in hospital and the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation social inclusion charity. 

Admission to the event is free and face off is at 5.30pm .
 
There will be collection buckets on the door and a raffle. Other fundraising measures will be announced in due course and anybody interested in attending, donating a raffle prize or otherwise supporting the event can find out more information via the “Riverside Raiders (IHC) Widnes” or “Widnes Wildcats” groups on Facebook.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Have You Got YOUR copy yet?

Invicta Dynamos' Arran Strawson
with his copy of the NIHL Yearbook
(Photo by Chris Randall)
Update from NIHL South editor Chris Randall’s trip to Streatham:

“It's not just hockey fans who like to get their hands on a copy of the NIHL Yearbook. None other than South Yorkshire born defence man Arran Strawson makes sure he gets his copy every year. He likes to look back and reflect on his team, the Invicta Dynamos – season’s fortunes, as well as the league in general.”

You can order your copy now via the website HERE  in person from Chris Randall on the Isle of Wight  HERE , via Amazon  HERE or coming soon to a skate shop / supporters club near you!
 
Offers and discounts available for retailers, clubs and fundraisers – drop us a line HERE !

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Last Few Days For The Earlybird Offer!

The Ice Hockey Review 2016 NIHL Yearbook is bigger and even better than ever and will be published at the end of October. 

There is a special earlybird offer at present – running until 20th October - where you can pre-order your copy at the “better-than-last-year’s price” of £7.50 inc free UK p&p.   After that date, it will revert to its normal selling price £8.50 plus p&p.
 
The earlybird offer is only available via this website and all earlybird orders are – naturally - despatched first.  
 
Please click on the link HERE below for more information and purchase links.
 
 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

2016 Yearbook To Feature Women's Hockey For The First Time!

We are pleased to announce that the 2016 edition of the Ice Hockey Review Yearbook will be featuring women’s hockey for the first time!

The new edition –which will be available at the end of the October – will have brief details of Women’s Elite League, Women’s Premier League and National League 1 North & South regular season and playoff competitions, with colour photos of the winning teams at each level and some of the leading players.

We believe that this is the first time that women’s hockey in Britain has been featured in this much detail in a formal publication for quite a few years and, if there is a sufficient level of interest, we would like to extend our women’s coverage further in future years.

There is currently a special “earlybird offer” price for copies of the 2016 Yearbook that are ordered through the website before 20th October. After that date, the price will revert to its normal selling price of £8.50 plus p&p.

For order link and more information on the book’s other content, click HERE 

Photo:  Widnes Wild women’s team playing Milton Keynes Falcons in the first ever women’s game to be staged at Silver Blades Widnes in February 2016 (photo by Geoff White – www.gw-images.com )
   

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Earlybird Offer Extended To 20th October!

Due to a temporary glitch with the book printing company, the publication date for the Ice Hockey Review 2016 NIHL Yearbook has had to be put back a couple of weeks and will now be the end of October rather than the beginning.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but the plus side is that the Earlybird Offer now runs until the 20th October. Any copies ordered via the website prior to that date will still be available at the “better than last year’s price” of £7.50 with free UK P&P.

To order copies or more for information about this year’s book, please follow the link HERE
 

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Widnes Wild Women's Team 2016/17 WPL Season Preview

The Widnes Wild Women’s ice hockey team get their Women’s Premier League season underway with a home game against Milton Keynes Falcons this Sunday at Silver Blades Widnes.

This is the Wild team’s second season at WPL level and last season – the first time women’s league hockey had been played at Widnes - they finished runners up in the league standings to the all-conquering Swindon Top Cats who went the whole season unbeaten.  The Wild women were one of only two teams to take a point off the eventual champions and, with the Top Cats now having been promoted to the Women’s Elite League, there are hopes that the Widnes team might be able to go one better this time around.    

Assistant Captain Emma Brown said: "The women's team is largely unchanged from last season with the majority of players resigning. We have a couple of new faces who haven't played on a women's team before, Sav Sumner and Sal Roberts, but who are looking forward to the new challenge and are fitting in well with the existing team. We also have a new coach, Owen Tennant, who has brought a new dynamic to our on Ice sessions and we are hopeful he can help us build on our previous success.

Last season Widnes competed well against MK with a draw and a very closely fought loss. We are hoping to improve on these results and get a win in our first game of the season, starting as we mean to go on.”

The WPL has 7 teams this season as opposed to last season’s 8, due the Whitley Bay Squaws dropping out at a late stage in the summer.  Last season’s champions Swindon have been promoted to the WEL and Kingston Diamonds - who won the Division 1 North v Division 1 South Play Off at iceSheffield - have moved up into the WPL.

The Widnes Wild women’s team Women’s Premier League fixtures for the 2016/17 season are as follows (home games in bold):

11th September - home v Milton Keynes Falcons
25th September - away @ Chelmsford Cobras
23rd October - home v Slough Phantoms
30th October – home v Nottingham Vipers
27th November – home v Kingston Diamonds
11th December: away @ Nottingham Vipers
8th January: away @ Streatham Storm
15th January: home v Streatham Storm
4th February: away @ Slough Phantoms
12th February: home v Chelmsford Cobras
7th May: away @ Milton Keynes Falcons
27th May: away @ Kingston Diamonds

The Wild women’s team’s first home game of the season is against Milton Keynes Falcons this Sunday.  Face off is at 5.30pm - and admission is free!

Photo: action from last season’s home game between Widnes Wild women’s team and Milton Keyes Falcons – the first ever WPL game played at Widnes.  Photo by Geoff White ( www.gw-images.com)  
30th October 2016 v Nottingham Vipers
27th November 2016 v Kingston Diamonds
15th January 2017 v Streatham Storm
12th February 2017 v Chelmsford Cobras

 

 

 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Match Report: Bob Kenyon Memorial Shield

Bernie Snagg and Bobby Hall receive the shield from Sheila Kenyon,
watched by Nicola  Kenyon and Linzi Mitchell (Photo by Bobb Newman)
Bob Kenyon Memorial Shield
Played at Deeside Leisure Centre
26th June 2016 

Blackpool Seagulls 7 
North West All Stars 7  

As soon as I heard that both the Sims twins – Brian and Brice - were going to fly all the way over from Canada especially to be a part of the Bob Kenyon Memorial Shield game that was being arranged at Deeside in honour of the long term Blackpool Seagulls player, coach and manager, it began to hit home to me what an important occasion this was going to be.
 
The game had been put together by Bob’s son Darryl, daughter Nicola and wife Sheila – and another British hockey legend - Bernie Snagg - assembled a “North West All Stars” team to take on the Seagulls in a match in aid of the two charities that had looked after Bob during his battle against cancer the Christie Hospital in Manchester and Trinity Hospice in Blackpool.
 
The Seagulls team – reformed in 2012 as a non-contact recreational side – included a host of players from the team that won the English League North title in 1980/81 and 81/82 and then played in the Heineken British League in the 1980s – all under Bob’s guidance and the All Stars team was similarly impressive.
 
They had separate lines of former players from each of the other northwest clubs ie: Liverpool Leopards, Deeside Dragons and Altrincham Aces - as well as Steve French representing Bradford Bulldogs. Here again, we had players from the 70s, 80s and 90s - coming right up to date with the addition of Steve Fellows who had just won the NIHL Laidler Conference title and play offs with Deeside Dragons this season.     
 
The game saw the legendary Sims twins - Bruce and Brian -
playing together on UK ice for the first time since 1984
Now I have to say that, as a hockey fan of a “particular vintage”, it was an absolute joy for me to see some many of these old faces back on the ice together – it could have been 1983 all over again! But despite the fact that many of the players taking part were over 50 and some even over 60, you could not say that it was a leisurely Sunday stroll in the park. 

There was a fabulous intensity to this game – you could sense that all the players were really up for the challenge and played with commensurate passion. I am sure that Bob Kenyon would have approved.  But it wasn’t a dirty game by any means, there were no niggly fouls or pantomime fights it was just keenly contested and played on a knife edge from start to finish.

The Seagulls were quickest off the blocks and scored after just 15 seconds with their “import line” of Dave Anthony, Brian and Bruce Sims tearing through the All Stars defence.  The same grouping added 3 more goals before the first break but a goal from Pete Broadhurst (asst Nick Crawley) after 16.50 gave the All Stars – a lot of whom haven’t had the advantage of training and playing regularly together like the Seagulls have been – something to build on in the second period.
 
Seagulls' player Ivan Danks donated one of his ice hockey
themed  paintings to be auctioned in aid of the two charities
Whatever was said in the All Stars dressing room during the break had an immediate effect as former Altrincham Aces star forward Paul Fleury scored an unassisted goal in the first minute and then added a second (asst Ian McDade) just 4 minutes later to pull the score back to 4-3. Another goal from Bruce Sims – his 3rd of the game – restored the seagulls two goal cushion just over a minute later but a superb solo strike by Liverpool Leopard Tony Martin followed quickly by a goal from Steve Fellows saw the All Stars dramatically take the lead at the mid-point of the game.

A powerplay goal from the Seagulls’ Gary Shearman (asst Hall & Wrigley) on 35.55 – scored while the All Stars’ Pete Winstanley was sitting out a cross checking penalty - restored the advantage and the Blackpool team took a slender one goal lead into the final period.
 
Now, if you thought that 40 minutes of highly competitive hockey might have tired these “older” guys out, then you would be very mistaken.  The third period picked up where the second had left off and first blood went to the resurging All Stars when a Steve French goal on 47 minutes drew them back on bevel terms once again.   Duncan Wrigley edged the Seagulls back in front once more before an absolutely superb individual goal from Mark Hobson levelled the scores once again and that’s how it remained as the clock ticked down to zero.
 
The game was played in a tremendous spirit throughout and a draw was definitely the right result, meaning that both teams share the Bob Kenyon Memorial Shield in its inaugural year. Rumour has it that this will become an annual event with an evolving format – so watch this space for more news on that at a later date!
 
The shield was awarded jointly to team captains Bobby Hall and Bernie Snagg and, in a wonderful gesture, all the players and officials were presented with a special medal to a mark the occasion by Sheila Kenyon, Nicola Kenyon and Linzi Mitchell.
 
Blackpool Seagulls Team:
Darryl Kenyon – NM, John Dunford – NM, Bobby Hall – C, Ivan Danks, Duncan Wrigley, Gary Shearman, Craig Shaughnessy, Anthony McGeever, Mick Buchanan, Matty Briggs, Warren Shaw, Gary Fearon, Rick Duffy, Dean Chatterton, John Higginbottom, Dave Anthony, Bruce Sims, Brian Sims, Mark Ferraday

North West All Stars Team: Leopards: Bernie Snagg – C, Karl Creamer, Steve Fellows, Laurence Paul, Alan Mortimer, Tony Martin
Dragons: Alan Steele, Richie Amos, Steve French, Phil Kennedy, Gary Shaw, Mark Hobson, Brian Jackson, Gary Holden - NM
Aces: Pete Winstanley, Nick Crawley, Pete Broadhurst, Ian McDade, Paul Morgan, Paul Fleury

MVPs: Seagulls – Brian Sims, All Stars – Mark Hobson
Match Officials:  Lawrence Wright (Referee), Bob Bramah (Linesman), Les Heighway (Linesman)


Stop Press:  At the time of writing, almost £2000 had been raised through match sponsorship, raffle ticket sales, admission money, donations and programme sales. The final figure - with auction items still to be added – will be announced shortly.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

"Dragons Fire - Road To The Championship": New Documentary Showing This Friday From 7pm

There’s a real treat for ice hockey fans coming up during June as Bay TV will be screening a special 3-part fly on the wall documentary about the goings on at Deeside Dragons in the run in to their historic league and play off winning double campaign.

It has been produced by BASN – the same people who have done the excellent Drop The Puck series throughout the season and, as one the lucky people to have had a sneak preview, I can assure you that it is well worth watching.

This first part of the documentary starts off preparing for the home league encounter with Nottingham Lions - which is very relevant as they had already won at Deeside earlier in the season, and there a few jitters around the club following the Red Hockey business in mid-January.

From a fan’s point of view, there are lots of interesting things to see in this documentary.  You hear the players talking about how they first got into ice hockey and how they manage – or struggle – to fit it in with their family lives.   We see a midweek training sessions and the players explain how the various drills work and which game skills they are designed to work on.

We see a really inspirational team talk from head coach Lol Paul in the dressing room just prior to the Lions game and - what I found REALLY interesting – is that we hear the bench miked up during the game and get to hear some of the conversations between the players and the coach while the game is in progress.

There are highlights of the Dragons v Lions game and then we are left to look forward to more of the same in Part Two which follows later in the month.

Obviously,  if you are a Dragons fan, this is must watch TV but, even if you support another team or don’t really watch a lot of hockey, I would recommend giving this a go.

It is nice to hear the players talk in a candid, relaxed manner and really fascinating to see how much preparation and work goes on behindd the scenes even at this comparative lowly level of the game.

“Dragons’ Fire – Road To The Championship” will be shown on Bay TV Liverpool this Friday 3rd June at  7pm and repeated on Saturday morning at 9.30am.  It will also be available to view online from 8pm on Friday evening. 

You can find out more about the Dragons’ documentary and the other exciting project at BASN’s Facebook page :   HERE

 

  

 

     

Sims Twins To Play In Kenyon Memorial Game At Deeside

The Sims twins with Steve Currie in 1982
Three legendary Blackpool ice hockey players are to be reunited for a special memorial game in memory of a Blackpool stalwart Bob Kenyon who died earlier this year.

The Canadian import trio of Brian Sims, Bruce Sims and Steve Currie are flying across the Atlantic to take part in a special game between Blackpool Seagulls legends and a North West All Stars side on Sunday 26th June at Deeside.

The game is being organised by Darryl Kenyon – Bob’s son – and will raise funds for Trinity Hospice, Blackpool, and Christie Hospital, Manchester, who both took care of Bob during his illness.

The Sims twins and Currie were the Seagulls first overseas stars and part of the team that won the English League North title in the 1981/82 season.  The Sims Twins were renowned for their high scoring abilities and their almost telepathic understanding when they were playing on the ice together. They stayed with the Blackpool Seagulls during their runners- up season in the British League in 1982/83 and then led the Southampton Vikings to the league championship the following year.     Their goal scoring exploits are legendary and are still talked about to this day.

Currie played for the Seagulls for three seasons in total during the 1980s and also had a spell with Trafford Metros where Brian Sims was also player coach for a while.

Bruce Sims at SubZero in 2013
When the Seagulls reformed at the then-newly opened SubZero rink in Cleveleys, Bruce Sims came over and played two games in 2013, helping to raise over £300 for Trinity Hospice but this will the first time that the three former Blackpool players will appear together on the ice in over 30 years.

The North West All Stars team is being arranged by Bernie Snagg – another former Blackpool Seagull - and will comprise of former players from the Altrincham Aces, Deeside Dragons and Liverpool Leopards teams who will all have benefitted from Bob’s coaching and experience at some point during their careers.  In fact, Bob Kenyon’s legacy is so widespread the game is being played at Deeside Leisure Centre so that it is more central for many of the players and supporters who wish to attend.  The Seagulls are arranging coach travel from Blackpool for anybody who would like to travel to the game.

Bob’s daughter Nicola Kenyon is co-ordinating the fund-raising effort in aid of the two charities.  There will be a raffle and bucket collection on the day and a special souvenir programme will be on sale.  

For more information about coach travel, to donate a raffle prize or to advertise in the programme, contact Darryl Kenyon  HERE  or    Nicola Kenyon   HERE  (coach places are limited and demand is likely to be high).
 
For more information about the Memorial game - click HERE

Monday, 30 May 2016

Women's EIHA Trophy at iceSheffield - Weekend Round Up

Swindon Top Cats won the WPL play off final at iceSheffield after a tense penalty shoot-out against Streatham Storm.

The match finished 1-1 after normal time with Streatham having led until a Becky Inker equaliser for the previously unbeaten Top Cats forced the shoot-out. Inker was the only player to score her penalty shot and the Top Cats finish the season unbeaten.

Semi Finals (played Saturday 28th May):
Swindon Top Cats 2 – Milton Keynes Falcons 0
Widnes Wild Women’s Team 1 – Streatham Storm 2 

In the Women’s Elite League play offs,  Bracknell Queen Bees beat Solihull Vixens 7-2 in the final to claim their own league and play off double . They had beaten Kingston Diamonds of Hull 4-0 in the semi-final the day before while Solihull  beat Sheffield Shadows in the other semi.

The ED1 North & South Play Offs threw up a bit of a surprise as North 1 champions Billingham Wildcats lost 1-3 to North 1 runners up Kingston Diamonds in the final. Billingham had beaten South 1 runners up Cardiff Comets 6-0 in their semi-final while Kingston had seen off South 1 champions Invicta Dynamic 5-2.    

In the Under 16 title game, Bracknell Ice Bees beat Sheffield Shadows 6-0 to secure the national Under 16 championship.

Photo by Flyfifer Photography – see lots more at www.flyfifer.co.uk