Saturday, 2 July 2022

British Para Ice Hockey - Match Report: Mayhem 0 - Cardiff Huskies 13

Mayhem's Peggy Assinck (Photo by Blindside Trading Cards)

Sunday 26th June:  Mayhem 0 – Cardiff Huskies 13 

British League sledge hockey returned to Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday after a two year break caused by the Covid pandemic but it was a day to forget for the local Mayhem team as they lost out 0-13 to league leaders Cardiff Huskies. 

Cardiff took the lead in the 7th minute and then went 0-2 up with just 33 seconds left to play in the first period.   A massive 7 goals in the second period – including two within 16 seconds of each other – put the visitors well in front and, despite increased Mayhem possession as the game went on, they found it difficult to penetrate the well organised Huskies defence.

The Mayhem’s chief playmaker, GB international Karl Nicholson, had to miss the game through suspension and, with Canadian national team player Peggy Assinck leaving the ice injured mid-way through the game, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for the home side.

Darren Pomfrett was given a stern test in the Mayhem goal and, had it not been for some superb saves, the score would have been much higher.

Four more goals for Cardiff in the third period gave them a resounding victory and sees them pull further ahead at the top of the league table with 5 wins from 5 games.

The Mayhem have two away games coming up in a row  – away to Sheffield Steelstings on 2nd July and then at Peterborough Phantoms on 9th July – before their next home game against the Steelstings on Saturday 16th July at Planet Ice Widnes. 


Monday, 20 June 2022

Sledge Hockey Back At Widnes This Sunday

The Mayhem team after their recent away game in Cardiff (Photo by Haganova Photography)

British League sledge hockey returns to Widnes this Sunday 26th June after a long break as the Mayhem team take on the Cardiff Huskies at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.

The British Para Ice Hockey League – to give its full and correct title – had to miss the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to the Covid  pandemic and various lockdowns but it is back this year with a 5 team competition playing home and away fixtures over the summer months.

The Mayhem team train at Widnes on a Thursday evening and split their home matches between the Merseyside venue and Altrincham.  In the two home games they have played to date this season  – both at Altrincham - they lost 0-8 to the Sheffield Steelkings and then beat Peterborough Phantoms 14-2. They have played two away games so far this season, losing 3-2 away to the Steelkings and 5-2 to Cardiff.

The Mayhem team includes a number of GB international players - as well as Canadian Peggy Assink  who is a GB coach, and head of the new GB Women’s Para Ice Hockey programme, while also playing for her native country.

Cardiff won the end of season play off trophy on their only previous visit to Widnes back in September 2018 and they have a very strong team again this year.  They are currently top of the league with 4 wins from 4 games and they beat the Sheffield 2nd team, the Steelstings, 17-0 at the weekend.

The game on Sunday at Widnes faces off at 4.15pm and admission is free for all spectators.


Monday, 6 June 2022

Women's Trophy Weekend At Widnes

The Guildford Lightning team celebrate winning the Women’s Elite League play off final (Photo by Flyfifer Photography)

Widnes staged another top level ice hockey event at the weekend with the Women’s Trophy Weekend being played at the Planet Ice rink.

An incredible 10 games played over the two days saw many of the country’s top women players meet in the semi finals of the Women’s Elite League (WEL), Women’s Premier League (WPL) and English Division 1 (D1) on Saturday, with 4 finals on Sunday.

In the Women’s Elite League semi finals, runaway league champions Solihull Vixen surprisingly lost 4-6 to Guildford Lightning - the only time they have lost to them in 5 meetings this season - while 4th place  finishers Streatham Storm beat league runners up Queen Bees 2-1. This meant, unusually, that neither of the WEL’s top teams of recent seasons would appear in the play off final this year. 

In the Women’s Premier League semi finals, league champions Bristol Huskies – who had gone through the regular season unbeaten in all 16 games - beat Kingston Diamonds 3-0 and Sheffield Shadows beat the Firebees 4-1. 

In the North v South Division 1 semi-finals, D1 North champions Whitley lost 3-5 to D1 South runners up Streatham and Solway Sharks Ladies lost 2-8 to S1 champions Swindon Topcats to set up an all-south final.

Sunday saw 4 back-to-back finals. In the Elite League decider, Guildford Lightning won their first ever WEL title with a 5-2 victory over Streatham Storm, while the WPL final saw Bristol Huskies make it a league and play-off  double with a 7-3 win over Sheffield Shadows.

In the all-south Division 1 final, the Swindon Topcats beat Streatham 7-0 to secure the play off crown to go with their league title.  They also win promotion to the Women’s Premier League for next season, depending on any league restructuring.

The Under 16 girls national play off saw southern champions Haringey-based London Capitals beat north winners Kingston Diamonds 2-1.


Thursday, 2 June 2022

Women's Play Off Weekend At Widnes

GB women’s internationals Katie Henry and Sarah Hutchinson will be playing with Women’s Elite League champions Solihull Vixens in the Play Off weekend at Widnes (Photo by Rob Hutchinson)

The Planet Ice rink in Widnes stages another top level ice hockey event this weekend as the Women’sTrophy Weekend comes to town this Saturday and Sunday 4th and 5th June.

An incredible 10 games over the two days will see some of the country’s top women players meet in the semi finals of the Women’s Elite League (WEL), Women’s Premier League (WPL) and English Division 1 (D1) on the Saturday, with 4 finals – including the North v South Under 16 championship game – being played on the Sunday.

The full schedule for the Women’s Trophy Weekend 2022 is:

Saturday 4th June

D1 SF 1- Whitley v Streatham Storm (11.15am)

WPL SF1 - Bristol Huskies v Kingston Diamonds (1pm)

WEL SF 1 - Solihull Vixens v Guildford Lightning (2.45pm)

D1 SF 2- Solway Sharks v Swindon Topcats. (5pm)

WPL SF2 - Sheffield Shadows v Firebees (6.45pm)

WEL SF 2 - Queen Bees v Streatham Storm (8.30pm)

Sunday 5th June

Division One Final (1.15pm)

Premier League Final (3.30pm)

Under 16 National Final (5.45pm)

Elite League Final (7.30pm)

Admission is FREE for all spectators across the weekend to watch the best women’s club hockey in the country and see many of the Great Britain players who won their World Championship division earlier this season. The trophy from GB’s win in Jaca, Spain, will be on display and fans will be able to take their picture with the silverware.


Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Laidler Play Off Weekend At Planet Ice Widnes


The Laidler Division (North 2) Play Offs took place at the Planet Ice Rink in Widnes over the Easter  Weekend.  This was the third time that the venue had hosted the event – although this time it was acting as a completely neutral venue as the Wild team are now playing in a different division.

The two semi-finals on the Saturday saw league champions Telford Tigers 2 take on Sheffield Titans in the first game and league runners up Hull Jets face Sutton Sting in the later match.

Both games went to league form with Telford comfortably beating 4th place finishers Sheffield 8-4 in their semi, whereas Hull had a more difficult job but eventually managed to see off the Sting in a narrow 3-2 victory. 

In the final on Sunday Hull beat Telford 2-1 to add the Play Off title to the league crown that they won 2 years ago before the Covid lockdown kicked in.

Jets import Boris Giba gave Hull a narrow 1-0 lead in the first period and Kieran Robinson doubled the advantage midway through the second.

Telford’s Oliver Hunt pulled a goal back on 54 minutes but the Humbersiders held on to take the win.

The Planet Ice Rink in Widnes will also be hosting the Womens Play Offs over the weekend of 4th & 5th June.  This will feature a fascinating 10 games over two days including the semi-finals and finals of the Women’s Elite League, Women’s Premier League and National Division 1 and the Under 16 national final.

The participating teams have not yet been decided as the Women’s season does not finish until the end of May.  

(Photo by Lauren Rankin Photography)


Saturday, 22 January 2022

New Book: “Ice Hockey In Solihull” by Stuart Latham

Well, he has done it again! Another look back at the fascinating  turbulent history of British ice hockey - this time casting a light on the various clubs that have played at Solihull over the years.

To order your copy, drop Stuart a line to: stuartlatham65@sky.com

I actually have a lot of personal Solihull Barons related memories although most of them have come from supporting the opposition team and, as such, I didn’t think they were relevant for contributing  to Stuart’s book. But they are certainly worthy of a mention here.

More recent adherents to British ice hockey might not be aware but the Solihull Barons were one of the top teams in the country in the late 1980s playing for 5 seasons in the Heineken League Premier Division and regularly reaching the latter stages of the Autumn Cup and play off competitions.  

And, unlike the modern landscape of the sport where basically any new team with enough money can decide which league they want to play in, the Barons did it the hard way and worked their way up the leagues, starting in Division 2 – which is where I come in.

According to “Wikimaps” , it is 82 miles from Peterborough to Solihull and, back in the 1980s, the roads weren’t very good across country so it used to take quite a long time to get there.  Even so, due to most of the other opposition teams at the time being in Scotland or the North East or on the South Coast, Peterborough v Solihull was classed as a “local derby” and a huge rivalry was built up on both sides.

The Pirates started up in 1982 and were placed in British League Division 2 along with the Barons. Both teams had bigger budgets than the other sides and both had impressive imported players so they were the top teams in that first season, with the Barons finishing top of the table and the Pirates second. 

The league was restructured under the Heineken sponsorship for the following 1983/84 season and, with both the Barons and Pirates being  placed in the new Heineken League Division 1, that fierce rivalry continued to flourish. 

If my memory serves me well, the first time I saw a Solihull team play was probably against Cambridge University - who used to play their home games at the Peterborough rink - and this would have been a Division 3 encounter with the Barons’ second team, the Solihull Buffaloes, during the 1982/83 season.

I also saw a few Peterborough Ravens women’s games around that time and their main rivals at the time were the Solihull Vixens, so I may well have seen them play too, but my recall – almost 40 years later - is a bit vague on that.

Anyway, I am fairly sure that the first time I saw the Solihull Barons was the Autumn Cup defeat in November 1983 which was the first season that I decided to watch all the Pirates home games and become a full time fan. 

The Pirates lost that one 4-7 at home and, having also lost the away game in the cup as well, this set up a real grudge encounter for the league games that were to follow, with both the Pirates and Barons in contention for the Division 1 title along with Southampton Vikings who would eventually go on to finish top of the table.

One particular Solihull occurrence that is etched in my memory is the home league game on 8th January 1984 which was the scene of the infamous “Barry Skrudland incident”. 

The Pirates lost the game 6-8 but the main talking point was when, early in the game, the Barons’ import Skrudland, older – and, presumably, less talented - brother of long term NHL player and Stanley Cup winner Brian Skrudland, injured Peterborough’s Rob Carnegie with a vicious check to the head which left a huge pool of blood on the ice and the big defenceman being rushed to hospital needing facial stitches.

After a long delay for the ice to be cleaned up and discipline to be handed out,  Skrudland was ejected from the game and marked his departure by throwing all the spare sticks onto the ice – and a couple of curling stones as well. 

This wouldn’t happen these days, what with strenuous safety measures put in place to combat concussion injuries – not to mention incredibly long waiting times in A&E – but Carnegie rushed back from the hospital all patched and was able to rejoin the game, picking up the Man of the Match award for his troubles.   

(As a matter of fact there is brief footage from this game on YouTube – you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ1lrM_qwXM.  I can actually be seen in the crowd at 0.35.  It’s not very clear but I know where I used to sit at the time...)

Skrudland picked up a long ban from the BIHA as a result of the incident and never played in this country again. That helped to fuel the animosity between the two teams and a comprehensive Pirates win away in Solihull on 19th February (4-11, I was there!) did little to dampen any flames.

The following season (84/85) the Barons and the Pirates were both battling for honours in Division 1 again and the rivalry was just as intense.  The Pirates won away in Solihull just before Christmas 13-6 and that set up a huge return encounter in Peterborough at the end of February. If the Pirates were to win that game, they’d pretty much sew up the league title.

It is almost impossible to put into words how BIG that match was but even now, 38 years later, the thought of it makes my skin tingle and I come over all nostalgic and emotional.  There was so much interest and anticipation that, in order to be able to get a ticket , you had to go to the Pirates v Glasgow  Dynamos game the week before – played on a less popular Saturday night – to get a voucher to be able to attend.

On the day of the game, there was the hugest crowd I had ever seen queuing around the rink to get in. The hundreds of visiting Solihull fans arrived in coach after coach after coach and were let in through a separate entrance around the back to avoid further crowd congestion.

Inside the rink I ended up standing against the wall on top of an overturned crate in the corner by the vending machine  next to the exit towards the bar stairs along with my then girlfriend , my friend from school Alan Platt and Robin Colton.

The game had everything you could hope for in a big occasion – drama, excitement, goals.

ITV’s Gary Newbon was on the bench with the Barons and they had “Dancing Dean” Vogelsgesang doing his ridiculously over the top goal celebration routines.

Unfortunately for us, there were too many Dancing Dean moments and not enough Pirates celebration moments as the Barons won the game 7-10.

Here again, there is some video footage from this game (lovingly restored) on YouTube so you can see the size of the crowd, how great the atmosphere was, and a bit of what happened - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC6AbJ-ZrWc

The video includes great views of Shannon Hope in his first season of British ice hockey (he’s wearing #2 for the Pirates) and also the late Micky Curry refereeing.

That result left the two teams neck and neck in the title race but the wheels came off the Solihull challenge when they lost a bad tempered game away to Blackpool Seagulls – and Glenn Skidmore apparently did a “Slapshot-esque” striptease on the ice after having been ejected from the game.

The same night, the Pirates won 26-2 away to Grimsby Buffaloes and that win secured them the league title.  

The Barons and Pirates played in different divisions for two seasons but the rivalry continued through cup games and challenge matches.  They met up regularly again in the Premier Division but over time Peterborough became the better team and in 1991, the Barons suffered severe financial troubles and were forced to drop out of British ice hockey’s top division.

One more date in the Pirates v Barons rivalry sticks out in my mind and it’s a game that I didn’t actually go to.  It was Tuesday 12th March 1991 and the Pirates had already qualified for the end of season play offs for the first time ever. The date clashed with a football match for Peterborough United who were still in the chase for promotion after 12 years in the Division Four doldrums. With the ice hockey match having a later than usual start, due to it being midweek - and therefore a late finish,  all the way over in Bretton – I  decided to go to the football match instead which I could walk to easily.

Unfortunately, the football ended up in a rather disappointing 2-2 draw with Darlington whereas the Pirates game finished with the most incredible 17-2 win after the Baron’s “bad boy” of the season Brent Sapergia had caused all sorts of trouble and got himself  thrown out of the game.

So there you go.  A lot has changed in British ice hockey over the years – not all for the good, but don’t get me started on that! 

The Peterborough Phantoms now rule the rink at Mallard Road but they have been in a different division to the Solihull Barons for a long time now so, if the rivalry still exists, I doubt that it is anything like as intense as it used to be. It has probably been replaced by other teams that they play more regularly against.

So, if you have managed to read this far and have found a few things to be of interest, then you will definitely enjoy reading Stuart Latham’s new 282 page book Ice Hockey In Solihull.  He doesn’t waffle on anywhere near as much as I do and the book is filled with fascinating facts, statistics, league tables, results lists and great photos.

There are also interviews and articles featuring former players such as Steve Chartrand, Phil Lee and Robert Eley and the book also looks at the Solihull Vixens women’s team, the Solihull Knights, the Buffaloes, the Kings and the Blaze.

To order your copy, contact Stuart at: stuartlatham65@sky.com 

Monday, 20 September 2021

New Book: "UK Ice Hockey - Its History & Competition Winners” by Michael A Chambers

If you like ice hockey history, you will definitely like this new book by Michael A Chambers entitled “UK Ice Hockey - Its History & Competition Winners”.  

Now, as Michael freely points out in his introduction, a lot of the information in this book is actually already available from various sources either on the internet or in the multitude of books that have been written about the subject over the years.  But the problem is – which website did you see it on?  Have you still got the link for it?  Is that website still in existence – as a lot of great online resources have simply disappeared into thin air over the years….?

Which book was it in? Which year’s edition of the Ice Hockey Annual…?  Certainly, if you are anything like me when you are researching a topic, you will have books open all over the place, with post it notes liberally sprinkled - and all sorts of magazines and programmes strewn around as well.

Well, what Mick has rather cleverly done here is to gather a large amount of that information and put it all together in one book so you can find it more easily.

Who won the Autumn cup in 1985? It’s in here…

Scottish National League in 1948/49? That’s here too.

Want to know about the one-off British Championship that was played in 1930?  Look no further…

In fact, there are comprehensive lists of who won what and when for all domestic competitions, details of British teams in Europe and a whole lot more.

There are even lists of things that I didn’t even imagine I might ever need to know - such as Coach Of The Year, Player Of The Year and complete listings of All Star Players and Teams for every year that they have been nominated.

So there you go – if you like British ice hockey - and British ice hockey history – you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied in Michael Chambers’ new book.

For the Mail Order link, CLICK HERE  


Thursday, 8 July 2021

First Outing For North West Lions


The North West Lions tournament team launched their playing kit at a special training event at Planet Ice Widnes last weekend. It was a big occasion for the new team as it was the first time that the players had been able to get together due to the various rink closures and training restrictions caused by the Covid pandemic over the past 18 months.

Rather like the rugby union representative team with a similar name, this new Lions ice hockey team has been set up especially to play tournaments and matches abroad and, as its name suggests, comprises players taken from the north west rinks of Widnes, Deeside, Altrincham and Blackburn.

The team had arranged to take part in an 8-team international tournament  in Prague in September - where they would have been lining up against teams from the Netherlands, Romania and Slovakia as well as the host country - but the ongoing uncertainty regarding foreign travel and lockdowns in mainland Europe have made it impractical to attend.

They now hope to travel to the Czech Republic in April next year instead for a similar tournament and it is hoped that restrictions will have been sufficiently relaxed by then to enable the Lions to take part.  

You can find out more about the North West Lions teams on their Facebook page at: CLICK HERE



Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Widnes Wild 4 - Sheffield Scimitars 3: Match Report by Robert Martin

Photo by Geoff White (www.gw-images.com)

Sunday 2nd May - Three Rivers Cup: Widnes Wild 4 Sheffield Scimitars 3

The YKK Widnes Wild secured an impressive home win at Planet Ice Widnes in an exciting and tense encounter.

The opening period was evenly contested, with both Harrison Walker for the Wild and Thomas Hovell in the Scimitars net being kept very busy. The Sheffield Scimitars opened the scoring late in the first period, courtesy of a power play goal from Scott McKenzie. Sheffield then doubled their advantage a couple of minutes later, to give them a 2-0 lead to take into the second period.

The Wild were able to respond early in the second period to get themselves back into the match. A goal from Adam Barnes, his first of the night, helped to cut the lead in half. The match continued at a high intensity, with both sides able to create decent goal scoring opportunities. However, the Scimitars continued to hold a slender advantage.

The third period proved to be gritty and aggressive, with Thomas Barry for the Wild and Jack Brammer for Sheffield both seeing penalties for roughing early in the period. Widnes then enjoyed a three goal explosion in the space of five minutes, courtesy of a goal from Brady Doxey and power play goals from Jordan Griffin and Adam Barnes. 

With just under three minutes left on the clock, Thomas Barry and Jack Brammer were able to settle their score; with both players ending the match in the penalty box with fighting penalties. The Scimitars pulled a goal back in the last seconds of the match, but it was not enough to deny Widnes a great win on home ice.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Book Review: Ice Hockey In Edinburgh by Stuart Latham

Tony Hand is a similar age to me – in fact he is a few months younger than me.  Yes -  I agree I don’t look it, but I suppose that’s one of the few benefits of me not having played over 1000 ice hockey games at elite level, me not being a seasoned GB international and me not being the first British player to be drafted by an NHL team….  Actually, looking back, I’ve been really lucky in avoiding all that success and acclaim stuff, so can’t really complain… 

Having said that, back in my younger days - when I was carving out a minor career at right defence on the third line of the local rec club’s b-team, I was often compared to Tony Hand.  People kept saying to me: “How is it that Tony Hand is such a gifted young British player and you are so useless…”  But, enough about me – and Tony Hand – for now. 

When I first started watching ice hockey in the early 1980s, the Murrayfield Racers were one of the biggest teams in the country.  They had already been the top team in the Northern League throughout the late 1960s and 1970s and the depth of their British born talent was very impressive. In fact, Murrayfield were such a top team in the 1980s that, when the Heineken sponsorship came in and nobody was allowed to carry any conflicting booze advertising, Murrayfield were so influential that they were allowed to carry sponsorship by Smirnoff vodka on their shirts.

It was only once the big arena teams kicked in during the early 1990s and the dynamics of British game changed that Murrayfield lost their prominence in the game and even Tony Hand (there he is again…) – who chose not to ply his trade in North America when given the opportunity – finally opted to jump ship and join Sheffield Steelers.

And the good news is that the whole fascinating story of ice hockey in Murrayfield – the Racers and various incarnations under the names of Royals and Edinburgh – are all covered in Stuart Latham’s  new history book.       It’s a massive 320 pages in length and has profiles of lots of players from the old days - such as Jack Dryburgh, Red Imrie and Johnny Carlyle – and player memory articles from people such as  Moray Hanson, Jock Hay and – you guessed it… Tony Hand!

There are load of players stats, league tables and photos and this book would be perfect for anybody who is interested in the history of the game of ice hockey in Edinburgh, in Scotland and in the UK in general.

Stuart has produced quite a few ice hockey club histories in this series including Slough, Bristol, Deeside, Altrincham, Cardiff and he has yet more on the way.  You find out more about his ice hockey books and other interesting things on his sales website here:  https://www.sandtsales.co.uk/online-shop 

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Book Review: The History Of The Slough Jets by Stuart Latham

If you are of a particular age – and, like me, blessed/cursed with the type of mind that remembers bizarre trivia and minutiae that nobody else is in the least bit interested in – you may recall that back when CDs were first being talked about on TV programmes such as Tomorrow’s World and so on, we were told that they were going to be much better than records (ie vinyl – and 78s too, I suppose...) because they wouldn’t get scratched and they would never jump....

Well, 40 years on, I think we all know now that CDs DO get scratched and they DO jump. Sometimes they inexplicably don’t work at all - and I can personally testify to that fact that sometimes they just suddenly stop playing when you are in the middle of a live radio show as well... so there you go.  A bit like the claims about North Sea Gas - and then nuclear power - that would get rid of domestic fuels bills for ever...  oh well. 

One of the more obscure things that I certainly remember being said about CDs was that you would be able to spread jam on them and they would still work. Well, don’t try this at home, anybody, as this DEFINITELY DOES NOT WORK!

Anyway, around the same sort of time that I was trying to “de-confiture” my late-teenage bedroom before my mum saw the rather sticky state of it, a new ice rink was being built in Slough...

(Did you see what I just did there...? A bit like Giles Coren in The Times..? You know – where he starts off talking about some unrelated topic  - and then slides seamlessly into writing about food and restaurants...? The only difference here is that I am about to slide seamlessly - if somewhat predictably - into writing about ice hockey....)

I’ve never actually been to Slough – as far as I am aware. I think I went through it on the train once - on the way to Reading to see The Pogues play at the university when my friend Alan was studying  there.  I HAVE been to Heathrow Airport a few times, which is near there, and I once drove to Hayes for work on a blisteringly hot day during the USA 94 World Cup to pick up an Australian printer (that’s a person, by the way – not a machine) to transport to Essex, which if your geography is any good, you’ll know is at the opposite extreme of the M25 – and a complete sod to get there and back to on a weekday. And that’s about it for “Slough & Me”, to be honest.

I do, however, distinctly remember the first time that the Slough Jets played against the Peterborough Pirates.

It was the Jets’ first season and the Pirates were steamrolling HBL Division 1 at the time with the likes of Garry Unger, Todd Bidner and Doug McEwen on their impressive roster.  League new boys Slough had Gary Stefan in charge (earlier of Richmond Flyers and Streatham Redskins and later of BNL fame), Richard Boprey (later of TV commentator fame) , Charlie Colon (of pretty much everywhere fame....) and their own whole load of famous names - so it was a great time to be watching British hockey.  My friend Alan actually went to the away game (as he was still just down the road in Reading) and brought me a programme back – Saturday 29th Nov 1986, Pirates won 7-12 (no,  I didn’t remember that from 35 years ago – my trivia recall isn’t quite that good - I just looked it up....).

At the home game against the Jets later in the season, I ended up sitting next to some Slough fans – presumably they’d arrived early and, as it was their first ever visit to the East Of England Ice Rink, didn’t appreciate the nuances of the seating etiquette of who went where.  But that is probably why I managed to get a seat, which used to be quite an achievement in those days – even though I was right next to them. The Pirates had just secured the HBL1 title two weeks before - with 5 games left to play - so there was a kind of party atmosphere around the place and I didn’t really mind one bit who I was sitting near.

For some reason, the Slough lads spent the whole game hurling abuse at Pirates’ defenceman Ellwyn Dawkins and waving baby’s bottles at him which - as I couldn’t spot any further evidence of babies, changing materials , or other infant-related paraphernalia -  I imagined they must have brought with them solely with that particular purpose in mind.  I do believe it was something to do with an incident that had occurred between Dawkins and Slough’s Darrin Zinger in the previous game.

Anyway, this master plan to unsettle the awesome Pirates defence obviously didn’t work and Peterborough ran out 11-5 winners ( I looked that up as well...).

The Pirates played the Slough Jets 55 times between 1986 and 2002 before they were somewhat unceremoniously replaced by the Peterborough Phantoms - so it’s quite likely that I have actually seen Slough play on numerous occasions, although nothing sticks in my mind quite as much as that first home game with the baby’s bottles that I have just told you about.

Now, if you are still with me by this point – and are wondering when we are going to get to the “good bit.” Or even if there is, in fact, a good bit to get to..... you will now be rewarded for your patience as we have now arrived at THE GOOD BIT!

Stuart Latham has covered the fascinating history of the Slough Jets in his new book – which has just come out and can be ordered now!

The Jets are one of the few clubs in the country to have kept the same name and played at the same venue  all the time ever since their launch in 1986, which means that, not only is this new book a MUST for all the Slough Jets fans past and present - but it also covers the various meanderings of British ice hockey over a somewhat stormy period – starting off in the days of the British League, then the British National League, then the English Premier League, the English National League and now the NIHL.

A massive 246 pages in total, the book has season by season stats and tables from 1986/87 right up to the 2020/21 season (even though there wasn’t one  - actually...), loads of photos and interesting articles written by former players such as Gary Stefan, Steve Moria, Charlie Colon and Brian Biddulph – and lots more besides.  

So, if you are like me and interested in British ice hockey history, even if you’re not necessarily a dedicated Slough fan, there should be something of interest in this book for you. Stuart has also produced similar club histories about a whole host of British teams all of which are available for mail order – and there is also his multi-team compilation “Ice Hockey Memories” - which features articles and interviews covering all different clubs in one volume. 

You can find out all about Stuart’s books on ice hockey and other fascinating subjects on his sales website:  https://www.sandtsales.co.uk/online-shop  

Another bit of good news is that, if you order your copy of this book – or any of Stuart’s recent ice hockey club histories  – direct via Stuart, then the club concerned get a % of the sales price, so that can’t be bad...!

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Book Review: The Cardiff Devils by Stuart Latham

 “They say that good things come in threes”.  Yes ! I know I have done that one already but I have since thought of a few decent ice hockey related analogies - so just bear with me…

Like Heineken League era imports, the Hanson Brothers in Slapshot, the Hunter brothers at the Peterborough Pirates and erm, well, perm any three Brittles….  Stuart Latham conjures again with that magic number to come up with another of his fascinating British ice hockey club histories. 

This time – in what is the second instalment in his Ice Hockey In Wales trilogy (– although you might wait quite a long time for the third one…..!),  I am pleased to present to you the third instalment instead of his JOHN LAWLESS TRILOGY!  ie the Cardiff Devils, to fit nicely alongside the Peterborough Pirates and Manchester Storm books that he has produced previously.

Now, EVERYBODY loves the Cardiff Devils – by which I actually mean that some people really do LOVE them -–and most other people love to hate them. But, whatever side of that particular fence you sit on, you can’t argue with the amount of trophies they have won over the years and the number of players they have contributed to this great sport of ours.

I sit firmly atop that fence in this debate as I was very pleased to watch the Devils beat Murrayfield Racers in a highly dramatic sudden death penalty shoot out in the 1990 Wembley Play Off final – back when domestic British ice hockey used to appear LIVE regularly on BBC1’s flagship Grandstand  programme.  I have to admit that my pleasure came mainly from the fact that they had so many former Peterborough Pirates players in their line up - but there you go...

I did, however, also enjoy the odd frisson of schadenfreude when the all conquering Devils managed to lose the Division 2 Promotion Play Off final on their home ice to the little fancied Aviemore Blackhawks one year - which will have dented the ardour of the air-horn wielding faithful for a while – and also the occasion when they got trounced by everyone (else) ’s favourite Welshmen, the Deeside Dragons, to lose the Welsh Cup as well – so that’s a bit of balance for you.

Regular readers of my ice hockey ramblings (should such hardy souls, indeed, exist...) will know that I always like to slip the odd Peterborough connection in if I can manage it and, apart from the obvious player connection – here’s another one for you: the company that built the original Cardiff rink was the same company that had built the Peterborough Rink a few years earlier – Sports Nationwide, as I believe they were called at the time. They also built the Chelmsford rink.  There you go, Stuart, you could do a “Dennis Adams Trilogy” next…! 

But I have digressed far enough – back to the present and the Cardiff Devils book. This is a very impressive tome with a whackingly huge 272 pages. It has season by season write ups and statistics for the Devils from 1986/87 to 2020/21 – although that last one is a bit thin, obviously… and also all time player records. There are memory articles penned by some of the players including Steve Moria, Jason Wood and Richie Hargreaves and photos throughout as well. 

If you are a Cardiff Devils fan – you will probably already have a copy of this – or have one on the way.  If you are interested in ice hockey in general – and British ice hockey in particular - you will certainly find this book of interest and if, like me, you have had your own experiences with the Cardiff Devils in the past, then you’ll probably enjoy reliving those memories once again.

Stuart has produced numerous books about ice hockey and other fascinating topics as well and you can find out more on his sales website HERE


 


Friday, 1 January 2021

Isle Of Wight 25 Year History Book In Preparation

Chris Randall is putting together a new book to celebrate the 25 years (so far…) of ice hockey on the Isle of Wight. 

The book will look in detail at the Isle of Wight / Wightlink Raiders team that played from 1991 until 2016 when their home Ryde Arena was shut down in controversial circumstances by the building owners.

Chris would be keen to hear from former players and officials and from also from anybody who has any photos, programmes or other memorabilia that they would like to have included in the book.  

It will also include year by year statistics and a full player A to Z - plus some bits and pieces about the Tigers second team.

There are various options available for sponsorship / advertising within the book and it is hoped to be able to arrange a special launch event on the Island once Covid restrictions are lifted later in the year.  

Anybody interested is asked to contact Chris at: HERE




Saturday, 5 December 2020

New Book: Widnes Wild - Lockdown Lookback - Available to order now!

Here’s a great Christmas present idea for the ice hockey player or fan in your life who already has almost everything and - above all - is MISSING ICE HOCKEY!   

This is not quite a full history of the Wild team as such but an interesting lookback at key moments in that history as told in the pages of the Widnes Weekly News during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic lockdown - and great memento of the team's many achievements SO FAR.... 

A5 paperback - 118 pages with black and white photos throughout.

Full contents:
Introduction
Questions for the Chairman
Widnes Wild’s First Ever Game

Richard Charles Looks Back At The First Widnes Game

Where Are They Now?

Craig Williams And The First Ever Widnes Wild Goal
Widnes Wild In The End Of Season Play Offs
Widnes Wild In the End of Season Play Offs – Part Two 
Widnes Wild In The Promotion Game
Wild Imports – Then & Now 
Widnes Wild In The NIHL Cup
Widnes Wild’s Title Winning Season
Widnes Wild At The National Championship Game
Ken Armstrong – 200 Games And Counting

Tom Jackson’s Widnes Wild Appearance Record 
Mike Mawer Reaches 100 Game Milestone
Dan Bracegirdle Looks Back Over 100 Games
Widnes / Deeside Rivalry – Part 1 

Widnes / Deeside Rivalry – Part 2
Widnes / Altrincham Rivalry
Widnes & Blackburn – Head To Head 
Wild Break Records In Blackburn
Wild Go To Hull And Back 
NIHL Player Award Winners 
Bookshelf

Selling Price: £7.00 plus p&p


Please Select Destination




Also available via Amazon – with all their various offers and free shipping deals etc if you buy from them:  
CLICK HERE



Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Limited Edition Offer: Ice Hockey 1936 Reprint

An annotated and illustrated reprint of the original 1936 work by Major Bethune Minet Patton, this new 2020 edition includes: 

A new introduction 

A new biography of BM Patton 

A new section about the Patton Cup 

A new section about the EIHL Patton Conference 

Two new appendices 

And 10 new photographs

As well as the complete original text and content.

With the benefits and facilities of modern technology, and in a move that we hope that Patton himself would have heartily approved of, we have decided to make his book – which has been practically impossible to get hold of for over 70 years without shelling out a small fortune to a rare book dealer – available to everybody at a reasonable selling price, which we hope they will enjoy reading.

SELLING PRICE £8.00 plus P&P 


Please Select Destination For Correct P&P


Please note: for overseas purchases - due to postage costs sending items from the UK to abroad - it may be cheaper to order the Print On Demand version via Amazon: CLICK HERE FOR AMAZON LINK



Friday, 27 November 2020

New Book: Manchester Storm - The Complete History by Stuart Latham


Manchester Storm - The Complete History by Stuart Latham

ISBN No: 978-1-8381165-3-8

235 pages B5 Size - Published 02/11//2020

Selling Price: £15.99

Featuring Stats, photos and articles by the players

OK – it’s time for another “Trilogy Analogy” now as we look at Stuart Latham’s third book in this series of three about ice hockey in Manchester.  I’m actually really looking forward to see if he’s going to do a “Rambo” with this and retrospectively rename them all at some point in the future and call the fourth one the same as the second – but that’s just me, I suppose…. 

Today we are looking at “Manchester Storm - The Complete History” which, with a title like that, probably doesn’t need much more of an introduction.

Like most keen hockey fans of the time, I closely followed the fortunes of the Storm when they first started up – John Lawless, Hilton Ruggles etc - not least because they were playing in the same division as my beloved Peterborough Pirates. To my eternal regret I never went to see the Pirates play them at the impressive Manchester Arena and, in fact, to this day, have never seen the Manchester Storm in action.   

All of that makes this a really interesting book for me to get my teeth into – and Stuart has done a really good job of this because there have been, in fact, two separate eras of the Manchester Storm.

As well as all the stats and photos that you’d expect there are also contributions from:

Daryl Lipsey

Hilton Ruggles

Martin Smith

Brad Rubachuk

Frank Pietrangelo

Kurt Kleinendorst

Jon Hammond

John Lawless

Dave Biggar

Andy McKinney

Mike Morin

Neil Russell

Jared Aulin

Richard Evans

& Margaret Pullen

- which is great as it brings together memories from players, coaches ,fans – and even the match announcer – a rare breed with a unique view of the game who - in my opinion - always have plenty to say! 

Just like Stuart’s other books, as a stand-alone club history, this will be of interest to general ice hockey fans from the UK and abroad – particularly with this one covering the Superleague and Elite League teams, ie “top tier” British hockey.   

Plus, of course, it fits very nicely with the other volumes of Stuart’s “Manchester Trilogy”, ie: “60 Years of the Altrincham Aces” and “The Rise And Fall Of The Manchester Phoenix”. 

Stuart has also recently produced similar books about the Deeside Dragons and Bristol Pitbulls teams and previous projects have included Bracknell, Peterborough and Swindon ice hockey clubs.

All of these are available by mail order but, because of production lead-times etc, I am told they HAVE to be ordered by 7th December at the latest if you want them delivered in time for Christmas.

To find out more about Stuart’s books on a wide range of topics – not just ice hockey, check out his sales website at: https://www.sandtsales.co.uk/online-shop 


New Book: The Rise And Fall Of The Manchester Phoenix by Stuart Latham


New Book: The Rise And Fall Of The Manchester Phoenix by Stuart Latham

ISBN No: 978-1-838116-56-9

214 pages B5 Size - Published 21/10/2020

Selling Price: £15.99

Featuring Stats, photos and articles by the players

They say that good things come in threes and, unlike the Porky’s Trilogy, which I have previously alluded to and of which - in my opinion - number 2 isn’t as good as 1 and 3 …, I am pleased to report that this is definitely NOT the case with Stuart Latham’s new book about the Manchester Phoenix ice hockey team.

It is called “The Rise and Fall of the Manchester Phoenix” so I guess you can imagine that it doesn’t have an overly happy ending – but there are lots of good bits to remember and celebrate in between the actual “Rise” and “Fall” parts.
I never, in fact, saw the Phoenix team play - although I did watch them warm up once, prior to the first game they played at Widnes – and, having never really followed the English Premier League per se as a dedicated fan, I can safely say that much of what Stuart has collected together in this book is new ground for me.
There are huge rafts of player stats, league tables and other bits and pieces - which all ice hockey fans love – and lots of fascinating photos as well.
There are articles and reminiscences from Margaret Pullen, Tony Hand, Carl Graham Steve Fone, Richard Amor Allan, Terry & Julia Sobutta, Peter Hagan, James Hadfield, Dave Clancy, Mark Lovell, Thomas Revesz, Aran Fox, Gary Lee, Paule Mayoh and Lisa Howard who all had involvement of some sort or other with the club over the 12 seasons of its existence. This is always nice to see as you get different points of view rather than just a mere list of what happened when – of which there is also plenty.
There are also sections about the ENL teams from that period, ie Phoenix ENL, Trafford Metros and Manchester Minotaurs.
You’ll probably know that there was a bit of falling out surrounding the Phoenix team which eventually led to their demise prior to the end of the 2016/17 season - but what went on behind the scenes is a matter for another occasion. As Stuart says in his introduction: “this book will focus on what happened on the ice!”
If you are keen a fan of the Manchester Phoenix, you’ll probably already have a copy of this – and if not, you’ll probably be getting one for Christmas.
As a stand-alone club history, it will be of interest to general ice hockey fans from the UK and abroad - and it fits very nicely between the other volumes of Stuart’s “Manchester Trilogy” between “60 Years of the Altrincham Aces” and “Manchester Storm - The Complete History”. (don’t ask me about this Manchester / Altrincham business, it’ll take too long to explain…)
Stuart has also recently produced similar books about the Deeside Dragons and Bristol Pitbulls teams and previous projects have included Bracknell, Peterborough and Swindon ice hockey clubs.
All of these are available by mail order but, because of production lead-times etc, I am told they HAVE to be ordered by 7th December at the latest if you want them delivered in time for Christmas.
To find out more about Stuart’s books on a wide range of topics – not just ice hockey, check out his sales website at: https://www.sandtsales.co.uk/online-shop

Monday, 12 October 2020

New Book: The Deeside Dragons by Stuart Latham

The Deeside Dragons by Stuart Latham

ISBN No: 978-1-8381165-3-8

204 pages B5 Size - Published 18/09/2020

Selling Price: £15.99

Featuring Stats, photos and articles by the players

 

With guest articles from Gary Chopper Lee, Lol Paul, Bryn Roberts and Shaun Bebbington and player contributions from Dave Clancy, Steve Fellows, James Parsons, Marc Lovell, Dom Jolly & Chris Jones.

Stuart has also produced similar books about the Altrincham Aces, various Peterborough teams, Bracknell Bees and Swindon Wildcats and there are more in the pipeline about Manchester Storm, Bristol Pitbulls and Manchester Phoenix.  

You can find out more about his publications on his sales website at: https://www.sandtsales.co.uk/online-shop 

Friday, 9 October 2020

New Book: Ice Hockey (1936) by Major BM Patton - Annotated & Illustrated 2020: A facsimile reprint of the original 1936 edition with new introduction, author biography and appendices


An annotated and illustrated reprint of the original 1936 work by Patton, this new 2020 edition includes:

A new introduction

A new biography of BM Patton

A new section about the Patton Cup

A new section about the EIHL Patton Conference

Two new appendices

And 10 new photographs

As well as the complete original text and content.

With the benefits and facilities of modern technology, and in a move that we hope that Patton himself would have heartily approved of, we have decided to make his book – which has been practically impossible to get hold of for over 70 years without shelling out a small fortune to a rare book dealer – available to everybody at a reasonable selling price, which we hope they will enjoy reading.

Mail order link - CLICK HERE

Monday, 28 September 2020

Peelers Club Launch Sponsorship Initiative

The Peelers team during their latest training session at Planet Ice Widnes (Photo by Andrew Goodier)

Following their latest successful training session at Planet Ice Widnes, the new Peelers northern police ice hockey club have announced a series of sponsorship opportunities so that fans and local companies can help support the team.

The individual player sponsorship costs £150 and will last for three seasons.  The benefits to the sponsor will include: sponsor’s name on the player’s shirt, invitations to games, photo opportunities with player mentions on social media, acknowledgements via match announcements at Peelers home games and a souvenir mini shirt.

There are other sponsorship packages available and deals can be tailored to suit all pockets and budgets.  Ice hockey equipment suppliers Hockey Hound – for example - are providing the all –important pucks for the season’s matches and training sessions while club coach Neil Herring is supporting the players’ skates maintenance through his “Kip’s Skate Workshop” business.

The Peelers team are named after the founder of the UK police service Sir Robert Peel and the club is aimed at people who have an association with the police including Police Officers, PCSOs, Special Constables, civilian staff and ex-members or employees. It has players with a wide range of experience and ability from former GB internationals down to complete beginners.

Once the current coronavirus crisis is over, the team plans to play a series of charity games against other emergency teams with the hope of creating a league in the near future.

Anybody who would like to sponsor the team in some way is asked to get in touch via email to peelersihc@gmail.com

Supporters can follow the progress of the new Peelers club via their Facebook page HERE and the team are always keen to hear from any prospective new members who fulfil the eligibility criteria.