Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Blind Ice Hockey - First Ever UK Event

Action from the UK's first ever blind ice hockey event - held at Planet Ice Widnes (Photo by Hannah Walker)

The Planet Ice Rink at Widnes played host to the first ever Blind Ice Hockey event to be held in the UK on Saturday 14th September. The aim was to introduce blind and visually impaired people to the sport and attracted participants from across the country.

Blind ice hockey uses a larger than normal sized puck, which has ball bearings inside so that players can hear where it is. Coaches and volunteers are also on the ice to guide players while they play and oversee safety. The organisers – Blind Ice Hockey UK – are organising similar taster events at other rinks across the country and are hoping to attract more participants with a view to setting up a team for future paralympic competitions.

The next taster course will take place at Oxford Ice Rink on Saturday 12th October at 4pm.

You can find out more from the organisers, Blind Ice Hockey UK HERE

Photo left:  A participant trying out blind ice hockey, with a helper. Photo right:  Nathan Tree (blind ice hockey player) with Widnes volunteers Andrew Wycherley and Colin Ellis.  (Both photos by Hannah Walker)  

Monday, 12 August 2019

Summer Classic Cup: Wyre Seagulls Win Play Off Trophy

The Wyre Seagulls won their second Summer Classic Cup Play Off title in a row, with a thrilling 0 – 4 win over the Flintshire Phantoms in the Play Off Final at iceSheffield on Sunday, 11th August 2019. 

It was an exciting finale to a Tournament that started back in December 2018 and included ten teams, split into Eastern and Western Conferences.  Both the Seagulls and the Phantoms qualified for the Play Offs weekend by finishing first and second in the Western Conference, respectively. 

The Phantoms snatched the top spot in dramatic fashion with a 1 – 4 away win over the Seagulls in a game that was played at the Planet Ice Rink in Widnes, due to the Blackburn rink being closed for refurbishment.   Because of the timing of that final group game, there was no time left before the Sheffield weekend to arrange and play the quarter finals that had originally been expected, so the top two went straight into the semi finals.

With less disruption to the Eastern Conference fixtures, table toppers Grimsby Stormers beat Sheffield Ice Tigers 12 – 4 in the first quarter final and third place Kingston City Knights beat runners up, second place Whitley Wild Cats, 3 – 4 away in the north east to secure the other semi final berth.

In Saturday’s Play Off semi final games, the Wyre Seagulls beat the Grimsby Stormers 9 – 5 and the Flintshire Phantoms beat Kingston City Knights 8 – 2 to set up a repeat of the Western Conference battle for Sunday’s Play Off final.

The third place game between the two Eastern Conference sides saw Grimsby Stormers beat Kingston City Knights.

The Play Off final saw the Wyre Seagulls beat the Phantoms 4 – 0, with goals from Christian Wareing (2), Adam Fleet and Matt Duncan the difference between the two teams.  

Somewhat fittingly, the Wyre Seagulls became the first team to lift the highly impressive Summer Classic Trophy, which is similar in size and design to the world-famous Stanley Cup and which has been named in memory of former Blackburn Rec. ice hockey player Rob Craig.  

The exceptionally well organised ice hockey Summer Classic Cup will return for 2020, possibly with different teams and different arrangements, or possibly not, and we are very much looking forward to it. 

Congratulations to the organisers, and all the teams, volunteers and officials involved and huge thanks to all the sponsors.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Summer Classic Cup: Wyre Seagulls 1 - Flintshire Phantoms 4

Summer Classic Cup Western Conference Winners Flintshire Phantoms (photo by Paul Breeze)

Saturday, 27th July 2019 - Howies UK Summer Classic Cup

Wyre Seagulls 1   -   Flintshire Phantoms 4 (played at Widnes, Planet Ice)
Period Scores:  0 – 2, 1 – 0, 0 – 2.
Penalties in Minutes:  Seagulls 14 – Phantoms 8
MVPs:  Seagulls – Michael Gallery/Phantoms – Michael Rogers

Match Officials:  Scott Anstey/Kiron Furlong
Scorer:  Sofi Jenkins
Time Keeper: Lucy London
Penalty Boxes: Sam Calderbank
Announcer: Paul Breeze

The Planet Ice Rink at Widnes hosted a thrilling finale to the Western Conference Group Stage of the Summer Classic Cup on Saturday with a highly entertaining game between the Wyre Seagulls and the Flintshire Phantoms. 

The Wyre Seagulls usually play their home games in Blackburn but, as their home rink is currently closed for major refurbishment work, they have been training and playing their home matches in Widnes.   This game was of particular importance as it featured the top two teams in the Western Conference with a winner-take-all scenario to secure the top spot.

The Wyre Seagulls entered the game with a one point advantage over the Phantoms in the Group Table, which meant that a draw or overtime win would hand them the title, whereas the Phantoms would need a win in regular time to leap frog them into first place.

The game was very closely fought throughout with little to choose between the teams.  The opening phase was very tight, with opportunities at both ends and the break-through did not come until the 16th minute, when the Phantoms scored two quick-fire goals - through Sterling Steeves and Ondrej Liebelt – within 10 seconds of each other, a crucial lead that they carried with them into the first break.  

The second period was even closer, with the only goal coming in the 27th minute from the Seagulls’ Conor Duthie to halve the deficit and set up a knife-edge final period.  However, any hopes that the Seagulls had of forcing an early equaliser were thwarted when the Phantoms extended their lead in the 44th minute with a goal from George Perrett.  The visitors further extended their lead with a second goal from Steeves 5 minutes later, leaving the Seagulls with too much to do to try and catch up. 

The 1 – 4 win means that the Flintshire Phantoms finish top of the Summer Classic Cup Western Conference, one point ahead of the second place Seagulls.  Both teams have qualified for the Play Off stages of the competition, where they will come up against the top teams from the Eastern Conference and which culminates in a final in Sheffield on 11th August 2019.

MVPs for the Phantoms and Seagulls respectively were Michael Rogers and Michael Gallery, 
presented by Sam Calderbank. (Photos by Paul Breeze)

Full Line Ups & Player Statistics:

Wyre Seagulls – David May, Michael Gallery (NM 60 min. 2 PIM), John May, Dan Coxon (Captain), Chris Brumby (2 PIM), Ryan Homer (2 PIM), Daniel Skelton (2 PIM), Adam Fleet, Ben Cleary, Christian Wareing (0 + 1), Mark Jenkins (2 PIM), Conor Duthie (1 + 0), Scott Anthony-Jones (2 PIM)

Flintshire Phantoms – Jason James (0 + 1, 2 PIM), Steve Furber, Gareth Jones, Brian Chalmers, George Perrett (1 + 1), Jason McGee, Juan Aspero, Michael Rogers (NM, 60 min.), Oliver Meadows (2 PIM), David Meadows (2 PIM), Anthony Hughes, Stirling Steeves (2 + 0, 2 PIM), Kenneth Valyear, Ondrej Liebelt (1 + 0),

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Widnes Wild Women Launch Sponsorship Initiative for 2019/20 WNIHL Season

The Widnes Wild womens’ ice hockey team have launched an ambitious new sponsorship initiative to help support their title challenge in Division 1 North of the Womens National Ice Hockey League for the 2019/20 season.

The team would ideally like to raise £7.000 overall to help with operating costs for the new season, which include league registrations, new away playing shirts, ice time costs, match official fees and other fees and equipment costs that arise.

The Wild women are keen to build relationships with local businesses and individuals and have different sponsorship packages to suit all pockets and budgets.

These packages include:

  • £600 to pay for new away shirts for all playing members in 2019/2020 (1 available)
  • £300 for Home Game Night Sponsor (10 available)
  • £50 for Individual Player Sponsor (several available)
Depending on the level of sponsorship taken up, sponsors will receive company advertising opportunities at home games and on team social media, public address announcements during home games and photo opportunities before and after the game.

Wild women sponsorship co-ordinator Kat Garner with Poet In Residence Lucy London who is
sponsoring the MVP awards once again this season. (Photo by Paul Breeze) 

One happy sponsor from last season has already renewed their support for the 2019/20 campaign! Poet In Residence Lucy London sponsored the MVP awards for last season’s home games in memory of World War 1 heroine Sarah Macnaughtan and she has chosen to commemorate Edith Smith – the first warranted Woman Police Constable in the country, and who is buried in Runcorn – for this year’s awards.

For information about these sponsorships and the other packages that are available, interested parties are asked to contact sponsorship co-ordinator Kat Garner on 07522109220 or via email HERE

Earle Road Elks and Manchester Swarm Raise Over £1000 for Pulmonary Hypertension Charity

Earle Road Elks team photo by Mark Ferris (All Sports Photography)

The organisers of a recent fund raising ice hockey match played at Planet Ice Widnes in aid of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK have announced that the game has raised £1,025 for the charity.

The game was played between the Widnes-based Earle Road Elks team and the Manchester Swarm and was organised by Elks captain David Winstanley whose mother died from the condition.

The final score was 12-7 to the Elks with goals coming from Luke Williams (2+1), Joseph Barker, Liam Braines (both 2+0), Stephan Bark (1+1), Nathan Berry, Bobby Samari, Thomas Jenkins, Kurt Haggerty & Dave Winstanley (all 1+0).

You can still support David's fundraising effort by following the Just Giving link

Monday, 15 July 2019

Summer Classic Cup: Riverside Raiders 8 - Blackburn Buccaneers 3

Sunday 14th July 2019 - Howies UK Ice Hockey Summer Classic Cup
Riverside Raiders 8 - Blackburn Buccaneers 3
Period Scores;  1-0,
Penalties In Minutes:  Raiders - Buccaneers

Match Officials:  Josh Humphreys & Will Fielden,

The Riverside Raiders team rounded off their Summer Classic Cup campaign with an entertaining 8-3 win over the Blackburn Buccaneers at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The previous meeting between the two teams had ended in a 3-3 draw with a penalty shoot out

deciding the winner in Blackburn’s favour and this game looked likely to be just as close.

The Raiders took an early lead with a goal from Jack Walker just 84 seconds into the game and, with the rest of the period playing out goal-less, went into the first break holding on to that slight advantage.

Two more goals for Walker - on 25 and 28 minutes - edged the Raiders into a reasonable lead but the Buccaneers still looked dangerous going forward and they managed to pull a goal back through a Michael Walsh penalty shot in the 34th minute.

A powerplay goal from the Raiders’ Matthew Lennox on 38 minutes re-instated the 3-goal lead and the home side took a 4-1 advantage into the second break.

It was the Buccaneers who scored first in the third period with another goal from Captain Michael Walsh but two quick-fire strikes within 30 seconds of each other – from Mike Filek and Lennox again – effective finished off the game as a contest.

Bobby Samari scored for the Raiders on 52 minutes and the Buccaneers Glenn Rattray (who normally plays in goal!) fired in the visitors’ last strike on 56 minutes.

The scoring for the evening was rounded off by Jordan Birtwistle a minute later and the Raiders were able to celebrate their first home win in this summer’s competition.

The MVP awards, presented by Howard Smith, went to Buccaneers captain Michael Walsh and Raiders netminder Rob Melvin who put in another outstanding performance in goal

Monday, 8 July 2019

Summer Classic Cup: Riverside Raiders 2 - Wyre Seagulls 10

Sunday 7th July 2019 – Summer Classic Cup
Riverside Raiders 2 – Wyre Seagulls 10
Period Scores: 0-3, 1-3, 1-4
Penalties In Minutes: Raiders 37 – Seagulls 37

Match Officials: Neil Herring & Ray Ormes
Scorer: Lucy London
Timekeeper: Howard Smith & Shannon Holt

The Riverside Raiders were beaten 2-10 by the Wyre Seagulls in a bruising yet highly entertaining Summer Classic Cup game at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

The Seagulls arrived with the only 100% record left in the competition and, with a liberal smattering of former league players on their bench, were always going to be a tough team to beat.

However, as it turned out, the opening phase of the game was very even - with chances for both teams - and it took until the 8th minute for the Seagulls to take lead through a Matthew Duncan strike.

Two more goals gave the visitors a 0-3 lead at the first period break and they edged further ahead with a hat trick goal for Duncan and a fourth overall with just 2 minutes gone of the second period.

The Raiders finally opened their account on 25 minutes with a powerplay goal from Matthew Lennox and this served to lift them as a team and they surged forward in an attempt to further close the gap.

Unfortunately, this left them vulnerable at the back and the Seagulls scored two more goals to finish the period with a 1-6 lead. A fourth goal from the Seagulls’ Duncan in the 46th minute effectively ended the game as a contest and the visitors went on to score three more goals to edge their tally into double figures.

The game ended on a slightly more "lively" note than might otherwise have been expected as there was a bit of a skirmish - involving several players from both sides - with just three minutes left to play and which took considerably longer than that for the match officials to work out the resulting penalties.

Two players were banished to the dressing rooms for fighting and 4 further Raiders players and two Wyre players packed into their respective penalty boxes.

The Seagulls then managed to pick up two more penalties in the last minute of the game and the home side had the last laugh in terms of goals after Dave Priestley scored a powerplay goal with 27 seconds left on the clock.

While they may have lost the game, the Raiders gained a song as Poet In Residence Lucy London – who helps out as scorer for the matches – has written a song to cheer the team out onto the ice. The song has been set to music and recorded by Liverpool based Canadian musician Jason Moon and Lucy presented a CD copy of the "Riverside Raiders" song to the team’s Game Co-ordinator Howard Hughes after the match.

The Most Valuable Player awards went to Matthew Duncan for the Wyre Seagulls and Ben Donkin for the Raiders and were presented by young player Caleb Eddleston - who will be playing for the Wild Academy Under 9 team next season - and match volunteer Shannon Holt.


The Riverside Raiders play their last Western Conference game of this year’s Summer Classic Cup this Sunday 14th July when they entertain the Blackburn Buccaneers at Planet Ice Widnes.

The two teams drew 3-3 in their previous meeting with the Buccaneers taking the overtime win after a dramatic penalty shoot-out and Sunday’s game will be highly significant as it will help decide which of the two teams will qualify for the play offs. The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free.

The Most Valuable Player awards went to Matthew Duncan for the Wyre Seagulls and Ben Donkin for the Raiders and were presented by young player Caleb Eddleston - who will be playing for the Wild Academy Under 9 team next season - and match volunteer Shannon Holt  (Photos by Paul Breeze) . 

Full Team Line-Ups & Player Statistics:

RIVERSIDE RAIDERS: Alex Hannah, Michael Filek, Rob Melvin (NM, 58.45), James Kelly (0+1), Matthew Lennox (1+0), Howard Hughes (2PIM), Luke Williams (2PIM), Ben Donkin (4PIM) , Jeff Chapman-Watson, Jack Walker (0+1), Bobak Samari (2PIM), Daniel Trust (25PIM), Nicholas Jackson, David Priestley (1+0, 2PIM), Mike Teinert

WYRE SEAGULLS: Nicholas Hageman (2PIM), Mark Kay, Jonathan Brumby (1+0, 2PIM), Daniel Coxon, Chris Brumby (0+1), Matthew Duncan (4+3), Kieron Hardman (1+2), Matthew Milhench (NM 60mins), Matthew Hook (2+2, 2PIM), Daniel Skelton, Adam Fleet (2+1), Ben Cleary (0+1), Wesley Evans, Craig Pennington (0+1, 2PIM), Chris Wareing, Mark Jenkins, Conor Duthie (2PIM), Jordan Bradshaw (25PIM)

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

BOOK REVIEW: “Poems about Cambridge Eskimos & Ice Hockey in the UK” by Bill Harris

If you are an ice hockey fan with a sense of humour and you also like poetry, you will, like me, absolutely love this book.

I have enjoyed reading poems as long as I can remember, having been encouraged by my parents and at primary school. Encouraged to write at secondary school, by my teens I was writing verse myself and sending my efforts off to local newspaper and magazines.

Appreciation of ice hockey came later. I suspect that, little like the fox in Saint-Exupéry "Little Prince", ice hockey has been gradually taming me for the past 20 odd years.

My husband, Paul, is a sports writer who has written several books about ice hockey, writes up match reports for websites and local newspapers and does the announcements for home matches of the YKK sponsored Widnes Wild Ice Hockey Team. He also provides the music and annoucements for the Widnes Widnes Women’s Ice Hockey Team and the Riverside Raiders Recreational Ice Hockey Team home matches. I try to help out by taking notes of the incidents during matches and in 2016 I began to keep the score sheet for the Raiders home matches.

I began to write silly verse to encourage the teams and then Paul put forward the suggestion that I could perhaps become the Resident Poet at the rink. So I have a Facebook Page where I share my crazy verse.

When Paul gave me a copy of Bill’s book, I was pleased to note that I was not alone in writing crazy ice hockey verse. Bill has a very different approach to mine – apart from the obvious – he is not only originally from Canada (where ice hockey was born) but he also plays and is coach of a team. Because of that, his poems reflect the changing room banter and the Preface to this edition of the book, and to the previous edition "Smokey and The ‘Smos" (of which this is an updated and revised version), which is also included, contain timely warnings as to the content of the poems and the spirit in which they were written. "I should warn readers that the language in this volume reflects the language of the locker-room. Please be prepared for profanity".

And Bill does not disappoint – 114 pages of wonderful ice hockey-related poems follow - wall to wall fun. I hope Bill will not mind if I share one with you. (I have chosen this with great care as, in these PC days, alas, you never know who is watching…)

"Eskimo roots" (page 43)

When we were wee squirts in lumberjack shirts
In the cold Canadian snow,
We never thought about Cambridge a lot
Though we were future Eskimos.
Then we played our parts and we played with our hearts
For we came from the lands of snow,
From our tiny tot roots we grew into the boots
Of Oxford-bashing Eskimos.

And that is just one example of a host of fantastic poems.

As it happens, I am also a life-long Cambridge supporter, beginning with the Boat Race when I was four years old, so that added to my enjoyment of the book. The law of averages suggests that, as there are two or us, there will be more – the hunt is on!


Lucy London, 1st July 2019


Product details

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Independently published (10 May 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 109382909
ISBN-13: 978-1093829075
Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.7 x 19.8 cm

Mail order from Amazon HERE

Monday, 24 June 2019

Summer Classic Cup: Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 5 - Shropshire Huskies (Telford) 9

Sunday 23rd June 2019: Howies UK Ice Hockey Summer Classic Cup
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 5 – Shropshire Huskies (Telford) 9
Period Scores: 2-2, 0-3, 3-4
Penalties in Minutes: Raiders 8 – Huskies 10
Match Officials: Chris Wells – Referee, William Fielden and Ray Ormes Linesmen
MVPs: Raiders – Ben Donkin / Huskies – Jamie Moorhouse
Scorer: Lucy Breeze
Timekeeper: Howard Smith
Match Report & Photos by Paul Breeze

The Riverside Raiders lost out 5-9 to the Shropshire Huskies in their latest Summer Classic Cup game at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The Raiders took an early 2-goal lead with strikes from Mike Filek and Luke Williams but the visitors pulled the score back to 2-2 by the first break.
The Huskies edged ahead in the second period and three unanswered goals gave them a 2-5 lead with one period left to play.
The Raiders staged a brief comeback with goals from Jack Walker and James Kelly early in the third period to pull the score back to 4-5 with 14 minutes left to play but two quick-fire goals within 30 seconds of each other put the Huskies firmly back in control.
Two more Shropshire goals put the game beyond the reach of the Raiders but the home side kept battling to the final buzzer and they did have the last word with a second goal for Jack Walker with just 6 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Raiders have two more home games coming up in the Summer Classic Cup at Planet Ice Widnes – on Sunday 7th July against the Wyre Seagulls and Sunday 14th July against the Blackburn Buccaneers. Face off for both games is 4.30pm and admission is free.
The Earle Road Elks team have a charity game this Sunday 30th June at Planet Ice Widnes. The opponents are the Manchester Swarm team and the match is being played in aid of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK. The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free, although donations are welcome.

Full team lineups and player stats:

Riverside Raiders: Alex Hannah, Michael Filek (1+0, 2PIM), Rob Melvin (NM 60 min), James Kelly (1+1), Matthew Lennox (2PIM), Howard Hughes, Luke Williams (1+1), Ben Donkin (0+1, 2PIM), Jeff Chapman-Watson (0+1), Jack Walker (2+1), Eemeli Vuorihovi (0+1), Bobak Samari, Stephen Harvey, David Priestley (0+1, 2PIM), Michael Parkin (0+1), Mike Teinert

Shropshire Huskies: Jodie Alderson (NM 60 min), George Garbett (2PIM), Dan Gadsden, Antony Stevens (2+1, 2PIM), Scott Williams (0+1, 2PIM), Benjamin Chamley (1+0, 2PIM), Alexander Phillips (1+2), Guntis Sjomkans (1+0), Craig Bannister (1+1), Carl Hindley (3+0), Laurence Le Vay (2PIM), Jamie Moorhouse

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Summer Classic Cup: Blackburn Buccaneers 4 - Riverside Raiders 3 (After Penalty Shoot Out)

Saturday 15th June 2019: Howies UK Ice Hockey Summer Classic Cup

Blackburn Buccaneers 4 - Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 3 (After Penalty Shoot Out)
Period Scores: 3-0, 0-1, 0-2, PS: 1-0
Penalties in Minutes: Buccaneers 16 – Raiders 18
Match Officials: Josh Humphreys and Neil Herring
MVPS: Buccaneers – Glen Rattray / Raiders – Rob Melvin
Scorer: Paul Breeze
Timekeeper: Mark Robertson
Match Report & Photos by Paul Breeze

The Blackburn Buccaneers and Widnes-based Riverside Raiders played out a highly entertaining and thrilling 3-3 draw in the Summer Classic Cup on Saturday in a game that had to be decided by a penalty shoot out.

Because of refurbishment works being done at the Blackburn rink, the game was actually played at the Deeside rink in Queensferry, which gave for an unusual atmosphere.

The Buccaneers scored after just 11 seconds of the game when Rob McNair broke forward from the face off to slot the puck into the Raiders’ net.

Team captain Michael Walsh made it 2-0 to Blackburn after 8 minutes and a strike from Callum Greenhalgh on 15 minutes gave Blackburn a commanding 3-0 lead at the first period break.

The second period played out goal-less until Jack Walker finally scored for the Raiders with just 76 seconds left. The third period saw the Raiders draw level with two strikes from Mike Filek in the 48th and 54th minutes and both sides had their chances in the last five minutes but neither could win the game outright.

In order to decide an overall winner, a nail-biting penalty shootout ensued that saw Buccaneers’ Michael Walsh fire in the first shot to edge Blackburn into the lead. The rest of the penalty shots were either saved or missed so that ended up being the deciding strike.

The Riverside Raiders are at home this coming Sunday 23rd June when they take on the Shropshire Huskies in the Summer Classic Cup at Planet Ice Widnes. The face off time is 4.30pm and admission is free.
Full Line Ups and Player Stats:

Blackburn Buccaneers: Alex Dunstan, Simon Pickering (0+1 14PIM), Jonathan Nuttall , Karl Milton, Robert McNair (1+1), Hudson Nuttall, Glen Rattray (NM 60 mins), Daniel Watson, Ciaran Chapman, Callum Greenhalgh (1+0), Patrick Thomson (2PIM), Paul Tierney, James Longworth, Adam Duxbury, Michael Walsh (1+0), Raivis Apfelbaums, Sam Calderbank

Riverside Raiders: Michael Filek (2+0), Rob Melvin (NM 60 mins), James Kelly (0+1), Howard Hughes, Ben Donkin (0+1, 4PIM), Jeff Chapman-Watson, Jack Walker (1+1), Eemeli Vuorihovi, Daniel Trust, Stephen Harvey (0+1), Jordan Birtwistle, David Priestley, Daniel Watts, Mike Teinert (12PIM)

Penalty Shoot Out:
Buccaneers – Walsh 1, Apfelbaums 0, McNair 0
Raiders – Priestley 0, Filek 0, Walker 0

Monday, 10 June 2019

Summer Classic Cup: Riverside Raiders 4 - Flintshire Phantoms 7

Sunday 9th June 2019: Howies UK Ice Hockey Summer Classic Cup
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 4 - Flintshire Phantoms (Deeside) 7
Period Scores: 1-2, 1-3, 2-2
Penalties in Minutes: Raiders 16 – Phantoms 20
Match Officials: Chris Wells & Simon Anders

MVPs:  Raiders - James Kelly / Phantoms - Anthony Hughes

Match Report by Paul Breeze

Photos by Andrew Shutt & Paul Breeze

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders lost out 4-7 in a highly entertaining local derby clash with the Deeside-based Flintshire Phantoms in the Summer Classic Cup at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

Because of the comparatively short distance (in ice hockey terms, at least ) and regular interchange of players between the two rinks, games between teams from Widnes and Deeside are always keenly contested affairs and this one was no exception.

The Raiders actually scored first with a Mike Parkin strike after just two minutes of the game and they held the lead until a short handed Phantoms equaliser from Ken Valyear some 6 minutes later.

The game was very even at this stage and looked as if the teams were going to end the first period on level terms but another shorthanded goal for the Phantoms – scored by Ondrej Liebelt in the 19th minute – gave the visitors the lead heading into the first break.

The Phantoms scored again just 2 minutes after the restart through Valyear again to open up a two goal lead but the Raiders pulled a goal back with a Jack Walker strike and the game remained on a knife-edge at the half way point.

With the Raiders pushing forward in an attempt to equalise, they left space open at the back and the Phantoms scored two quick fire goals that edged them further ahead. Strikes from Chris Clarke on 31 minutes and former Raiders player Anthony Hughes on 35 minutes gave the visitors a 2-5 lead at the end of the second period and left the home side with a lot to do in the final 20 minutes.

Hopes of a Raiders recovery were lifted with a goal from Matthew Lennox just 60 seconds into the third period but the Phantoms hit back again with goals from Hughes and Liebelt to lead 3-7 with 15 minutes left to play.

The period played on goal-less until James Kelly pulled a goal back for the Raiders with just 5 minutes left on the clock - but that was the last strike of the game and the match finished 4-7 to the Flintshire Phantoms

The result keeps the Phantoms on top of the Western Conference table with a 100% record of 6 wins from their 6 games, with the Raiders in third place with 1 win from 4.

The Raiders have an away game this Saturday 15th June against the Blackburn Buccaneers - also in the Summer Classic Cup. However, because of refurbishment works being done at the Blackburn rink, the game is being played at the Deeside rink in Queensferry, north Wales, which is, in fact, a lot closer and easier for the Raiders team and supporters to get to. The game faces off at 5pm this Saturday and admission is free.

The Raiders are next at home the following Sunday 23rd June when they take on the Shropshire Huskies in the cup at Planet Ice Widnes. The face off time for that game is 4.30pm and admission is also free.

Full Line Ups and Player Stats:

Riverside Raiders: Alex Hannah, Michael Filek, Rob Melvin (NM 60 mins), James Kelly (1+0), Matthew Lennox (1+0), Howard Hughes, Luke Williams, Ben Donkin, Jeff Chapman-Watson, Jack Walker (1+0), Eemeli Vuorihovi (0+2 2PIM), Daniel Trust, Stephen Harvey, Nicholas Jackson, Jordan Birtwistle, David Priestley (12 PIM), Michael Parkin (1+0 2PIM)

Flintshire Phantoms: Jakob Forster (NM), Chris Gorden (2PIM), Steven Furber, Gareth Jones (2PIM), Brett Hobson, Brian Chalmers, Chris Dallavalle (0+3 10PIM), George Perrett (4PIM), Jason McGee, Andrew Cooke (2PIM), Robin Spencer, Chris Clarke (1+0), Michael Rogers (NM - 60 mins), Oliver Meadows (0+1), Anthony Hughes (2+0), Stirling Steeves, Kenneth Valyear (2+0), Ondrej Liebelt (2+0)

Monday, 3 June 2019

Women's Trophy Weekend At Widnes - Weekend Report

Bracknell Queen Bees celebrate the Women's Elite League play off win at Widnes

The Planet Ice rink in Widnes played host to the prestigious Women’s Trophy finals weekend, featuring 10 games over Saturday and Sunday.

Widnes has become a popular venue in recent years for these national events, having also staged the NIHL Laidler Division play offs for the past two seasons and the British Para Ice Hockey League play offs in September 2018. Its easy to reach location and convenient interior layout make it suitable for all levels of ice hockey and the cosy spectator capacity ensures a great atmosphere which might otherwise be lost with a similar number of people in some of the larger hockey arenas

The games on the Saturday saw the semi finals of the Women’s Elite League play offs, Women’s Premier League play offs and the National League Division 1 North & South, with teams coming from as far afield as Chelmsford, Cardiff and Swindon in the south to Whitley Bay and Dumfries in the North.

In the Women’s Elite League play off, Bracknell Queen Bees – who have won the WEL title for 8 years in a row – easily saw off Guildford Lightning 10-1 in the first semi final, while the Solihull Vixens beat Kingston Diamonds from Hull 4-1in the second. In the final on Sunday – played for the Bill Britton Trophy – the Queen Bees were victorious beating the Vixens 4-1, scoring three straight goals in the third period after the score was tied 1-1 after 40 minutes.

The Women’s Premier League play off final was a lot closer with the score between league champions Nottingham Vipers and Chelmsford Cobras locked at 1-1 after the regulation 60 minutes of play. The game was settled by a golden goal after just 31 seconds of overtime with Chelmsford winning their first WPL play off title.

While not taking part in the play offs themselves, the Widnes Wild women’s team will have been particularly interested in the outcome of the Division 1 play off games as they would have direct influence on who they might be playing against season.

The Women’s Division 1 play off is unique in the current set up of British ice hockey as it is the only game that brings with it the prize of promotion to the next division up and the two top finishers in Division 1 South – Cardiff Comets and Swindon Topcats – took on the two top teams from Division 1 North – Telford Wrekin Raiders and Solway Sharks Ladies – in the two semi finals.

As it turned out, the two teams from South 1 both won their respective semi finals and Cardiff went on to beat Swindon 4-2 in the D1 national final to secure promotion to the Women’s Premier League for next season.

In the Under 16 national final, Haringey beat Kingston 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out after the game finished overtime level at 2-2.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Riverside Raiders and Trafford Thunder in 10-Goal Thriller for Christie Hospital Charity

The Riverside Raiders and Trafford Thunder teams after the charity game in aid of the Christie Hospital Charitable Fund (Photo by Paul Breeze)
The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders team beat Trafford Thunder 7-3 in a charity game that raised over £450 for the Christie Hospital Charitable Fund at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

As well as helping to raise money for a very worthy cause, the game also acted a warm up for the Raiders’ Summer Cup games which will be staged at the Widnes rink during June and July.

After very even and closely contested opening phase, James Kelly put the home side ahead in the 8th minute and Jordan Birtwistle doubled the advantage just 49 seconds later.

The Thunder pulled a goal back early in the second period but Jack Walker restored the two-goal cushion for the Raiders on 25 minutes. Another Trafford goal narrowed the gap again but three unanswered goals from Mike Parkin, Kelly again and Daniel Trust handed the home side a 6-2 lead at the second period break.

Trafford pulled the game back to 6-3 with a quick goal just 7 seconds into the third period and then the Raiders’ Mike Parkin added his second goal of the game while being pushed into the goal net on top of the Trafford netminder. This caused a bit of discussion on the ice but the match official adjudged that the puck had crossed the line before the net had come off its moorings.

That rounded off the scoring for the game and the Raiders were able to celebrate a 7-3 victory over their local rivals. With a raffle, cake sale and bucket collection, the sizeable crowd generously helped to raise over £450 for the Christie Hospital Charitable Fund.

The Riverside Raiders are next in action on Sunday 9th June when they take on the Deeside-based Flintshire Phantoms in the Summer Cup at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.

MATCH DETAILS:    to follow 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

New Song Launched for Widnes Wild Women's Team

The Widnes Wild women's team (Photo by Geoff White)
The Widnes Wild women’s team will be cheered onto the ice with a brand new song that has been especially written for them whey they play the last home game in their turbulent WPL season this Sunday 19th May against the Sheffield Shadows at Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30pm face off.

The song – entitled "The Girls…!" - has been written by the Wild’s Poet In Residence Lucy London who has been a keen follower of women’s sports for many years and has been particularly impressed by the attitude of the struggling Wild women’s team this season.

The women’s team have lost all of their league games to date after losing a large number of long-standing players during the summer and taking on a whole new squad of inexperienced players in a bold experiment in team building to help secure the club’s longer term future.

Talking about how the song came about, Lucy said:

"I am always coming up with ideas, jotting down lines for poems and songs and I like to write things to support the various ice hockey teams at Widnes."

"At a recent women’s team match, somebody from the visiting team expressed surprise that we were putting so much effort into the game day experience as it was "only women…". "

"I immediately put him straight and told him that we don’t differentiate at Widnes and that we try and put on the same show, it be men’s games, women’s games, junior games or rec games. However, it still irked me for a few days afterwards and in the end, I came up with the words to a song to celebrate women’s involvement in sport."

Determined that the song should be a rousing anthem to help cheer the Wild women on, Lucy contacted Canadian musician friends Jason Moon and Jaime April – originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, but now residing in Liverpool - to help out with the tune.

Jason and Jaime (pictured left)  came up with a superb rousing tune to go with the lyrics and also produced a professional recording of the song to be played at the Wild Women’s team’s future home games at Planet Ice Widnes.

You can hear the song at the Wild women’s game on Sunday – face off 5.30pm - or, if you can’t wait that long, you can also listen to it now on Soundcloud by clicking on the link below.

Jason and Jaime also play in the bands April Moon and Wooden Rocket and can regularly be seen playing live around the North West and beyond.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Howies UK Ice Hockey Summer Classic: Shropshire Huskies 8 - Riverside Raiders 10

Saturday 23rd March 2019 – Howies UK Ice Hockey Summer Classic
Shropshire Huskies (Telford) 8 – Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 10
Period Scores: 1-4, 5-4, 2-2
Penalties In Minutes: Huskies 4 – Raiders 24

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders team won their opening Summer Classic Cup match 10-8 away to the Shropshire Huskies in Telford on Saturday.

Alex Hannah, James Kelly, Jack Walker and Michael Parkin all scored two goals each, with the others coming from Mike Filek and Bobby Samari.

The Summer Classic Cup has an expanded format for 2019 comprising 10 teams overall split into Western and Eastern Conferences - with the top teams after the group stages meeting in semi finals and a final in August.

The Raiders are playing in the Western Conference along with the Flintshire Phantoms from Deeside, Wyre Seagulls and Blackburn Buccaneers from Blackburn and the Shropshire Huskies, with teams playing each other once at home and once away in the group stage.

The Raiders have two more away games – at Wyre Seagulls on 27th April and Flintshire Phantoms on 5th May before their first home game of the competition on Sunday 9th June against the Phantoms.

Raiders Line Up: Alex Hannah (2+0), Ben Donkin (0+1, 4PIM), Bobby Samari (1+1 12PIM), Dan Watts (0+2), Dave Priestley (0+2), Howard Hughes, Jack Walker (2+0 2PIM), James Kelly (2+0), Jordan Birtwistle (0+2 2PIM), Matt Lennox (0+2), Mike Filek (1+0 2PIM), Peter O’Mahoney, Rob Melvin, Stephen Harvey, Mike Parkin (2+0 2PIM)

You can find out more about the Howies UK Ice Hockey Summer Classic Cup competition here:  https://ihsc.ukaiht.co.uk/

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Women's Trophy Weekend 2019 To Be Held at Planet Ice Widnes

The EIHA Women’s Leagues are pleased to announce that the 2019 Women’s Trophy Weekend will take place at Planet Ice Widnes on the weekend of June 1 & 2.

Trophy Weekend is the finale to the domestic season and features ten games across the weekend and no fewer than four playoff finals on the Sunday.

Although the event is moving to a new venue, the format will remain unchanged from previous seasons.

Saturday’s six-game schedule will comprise semi finals from the Women’s Elite, Premier and Division 1 competitions.

Sunday’s action will comprise the Division 1 Trophy Final, Premier Trophy Final, U16 National Final and lastly the Elite League final for the Bill Britton Trophy.

Admission to the weekend will continue to be free for spectators, so fans can see the best women’s hockey in the country and a large number of Great Britain senior and U18 internationals in action.

Women’s League manager Sally Taylor said: “We are excited to take the Trophy Weekend to Widnes and look forward to another great weekend of women’s ice hockey.

“Thanks to the management at Planet Ice Widnes for their help in making this happen and thanks to the teams in the women’s leagues for their patience while the final details were ironed out.

“We are looking forward to the remainder of the regular season and look forward to players and supporters joining us in Widnes.”

Planet Ice Widnes rink manager Vernon Neil added: “Following successive NIHL playoff weekends, we are thrilled to be able to bring another showpiece of the EIHA calendar to Widnes.

“Planet Ice Widnes looks forward to welcoming the teams and supporters to our rink and our town and we can’t wait to share the event with the hockey fans of this region.”

The full schedule for Trophy Weekend will be confirmed in due course.

Friday, 5 October 2018

2018 UK Hockey Yearbook Now Available By Mail Order

The brand new 2018 UK Hockey Yearbook is now available to purchase by mail order.

Please note that this is a slimmed down version, compared to previous editions, as we have had to dispense with the team by team sections due to an increase in print costs and a drop in advertising revenue.  It still remains great value and is, of course, the only book in the world that covers all the leagues in UK ice hockey in so much detail.

You can order your copy now by clicking on the relevant Paypal link below or, if you prefer the more personal touch, you can order a copy from Chris Randall on the Isle of Wight – EMAIL CHRIS .

The book is also available via Amazon but it costs more from them due to their pricing structure and postage costs.

CLICK here for UK and Overseas mailing options and more details about the contents of this year's book: CLICK FOR ORDER OPTIONS AND MORE DETAILS

Monday, 1 October 2018

Cardiff Huskies Win British Para Ice Hockey Association Play Offs 2018

The British Para Ice Hockey Association held their end of season play- offs at the Planet Ice rink in Widnes over the weekend.

The two semi-finals on Saturday saw league champions Kingston Kestrels from Hull beat Peterborough Phantoms 7-2 and Cardiff Huskies beat Manchester Mayhem 2-1.

In the third place game on Sunday morning, the Mayhem overcame Peterborough in a close and entertaining game, winning 6-4.

In the final, Kingston had to ice a depleted team and Cardiff came out 9-4 winners in another highly entertaining game.

Full match and player stats are as follows:

British Para Ice Hockey League Play Offs 2018  – Planet Ice Widnes

Sunday 30th September, 5.15pm – Play Off Final
Kingston Kestrels 4 – Cardiff Huskies 9
Period Scores: 2-1, 1-4, 1-4
Shots On Goal: Kestrels 20 – Huskies 24 (7-11, 8-5, 4-9)
Penalties In Minutes: Kestrels 2 – Huskies 0

Team Lineups & Stats
Kingston Kestrels: Steve Gibson – NM (45min), James Cooper-Birchnall, Tony King, Simon Berry, Matt Woollias – C (1+2), Matt Clarkson (3+0, 2PIM)

Cardiff Huskies: Tyler Christopher (5+3), Josh Campbell (1+1), Paul Furber – C (3+1), Jon Le Galloudec, Russell Willey (0+1), Gareth Rees – NM (45min), Christopher Smart, Susan Cook, Hannah Tomsett

MVPs:    Kestrels - Matt Clarkson / Cardiff - Tyler Christopher

Sunday 30th September, 11.15am – Third Place Game
Peterborough Phantoms 4 – Manchester Mayhem 6
Period Scores: 0-2, 3-2, 1-2
Shots On Goal: Phantoms 22 – Mayhem 29 (2-12, 9-8, 9-11)
Penalties In Minutes: Phantoms 0 – Mayhem 25

Team Lineups & Stats
Peterborough Phantoms: Dan Grange (0+1), Callum Shakespeare (1+0), Scotty Trigg-Turner - A (1+0), Ben Vernon, Darren Brown – A (1+0), Matt Coleman - C (1+1), David O’Meara – NM (45min), Naomi Adie. Coach: Ian Offers

Manchester Mayhem: Doug Hankinson - NM (45min), Dean Lahan (25PIM), Graham Wilson, Peggy Assinck (1+1), Dom Cosgrove, James Rogerson, Karl Nicholson (3+2), Anthony Booth (2+1), Rob Allen (0+1). Coach: Peter Hagan

MVPs: Mayhem – Anthony Booth / Phantoms – David O’Meara

Saturday 29th September, 11.15am – Semi Final 1
Kingston Kestrels 7 – Peterborough Phantoms 2
Period Scores: 2-0, 3-2, 2-0
Shots On Goal: Kestrels 25 – Phantoms 16 (8-2, 9-8, 6-8)
Penalties In Minutes: Kestrels 6 – Phantoms 2

Team Lineups & Stats

Kingston Kestrels: Steve Gibson – NM (45min), James Cooper-Birchnall, Tony King (2PIM), Simon Berry (1+2), Matt Woollias – C (1+3), Matt Clarkson (5+2, 2PIM), James Morris (0+1, 2PIM)

Peterborough Phantoms: Dan Grange, Callum Shakespeare, Scotty Trigg-Turner - A (0+1), Ben Vernon, Darren Brown - A, Matt Coleman - C (2+0, 2PIM), David O’Meara – NM (45min), Naomi Adie. Coach: Ian Offers

MVPs:  Kestrels -  James Morris / Phantoms – Matt Coleman

Saturday 29th September, 7.15pm – Semi Final 2
Manchester Mayhem 1 – Cardiff Huskies 2
Period Scores: 1-0, 0-0, 0-2
Shots On Goal: Mayhem 14 – Huskies 22 (6-6, 3-9, 5-7)
Penalties In Minutes: Mayhem 2 – Huskies 2

Team Lineups & Stats
Manchester Mayhem: Doug Hankinson - NM, Darren Pomfrett – NM (45min), Dean Lahan, Graham Wilson, Peggy Assinck, Dom Cosgrove, James Rogerson, Karl Nicholson (1+0), Anthony Booth (0+1, 2PIM), Rob Allen (0+1). Coach: Peter Hagan

Cardiff Huskies: Tyler Christopher (1+0), Josh Campbell (0+1), Paul Furber – C (1+0), Jon Le Galloudec, Russell Willey, Gareth Rees – NM (45min), Christopher Smart, Susan Cook, Hannah Tomsett, Bench 2PIM. Coach:  Andy Brown

MVPs: Mayhem- Rob Allen / Huskies – Jon Le Galloudec

Tournament Officials:
Match Officials: Chris Povall and Matt Alway
Timekeeper: Colin Ellis
Scorer: Lucy Breeze
Announcer: Paul Breeze

The MVP Awards were sponsored by Simon Berry & Ice Hockey Review

You can find out more about Para Ice Hockey and see lots more great photos from the play off weekend on the BPIHA Facebook page HERE