Monday 25 August 2014

NIHL Weekly Round Up To Feature In Blackburn Hawks Match Programme

We are really pleased to announce that our weekly NIHL North round up features will be used in the brand new look Blackburn Hawks match night programme (see cover image).

This is a general news round up of the previous weekend's results and goings on in the Moralee and Laidler conferences and includes action photos from some of the NIHL North's best sports photographers.

As it is written from a completely neutral perspective, it means that the weekly articles would be suitable to use in the match programme for any NIHL North team.

Material is provided free of charge on the condition that it correctly attributed. If YOU would like to use the Ice Hockey Review NIHL Round Up articles in YOUR match programmes, drop us a line: EMAIL HERE     

Challenge Match Report: Widnes Wild 1 - Bristol Pitbulls 2

For their second pre-season challenge game, Widnes Wild faced NIHL South opponents, the Bristol Pitbulls. Wild included popular forward Ken Armstrong, recently re signed for the club. New signings Sam Dunford and Kieron Strangeway were unavailable , along with the injured Geoff Wigglesworth. Greg Ruxton was selected to play in goal against opponents paying a rare visit to the North West.

The game opened in sensational style. Constant pressure from the Wild forwards led to an opening goal in the 2nd minute. New signing Ken Armstrong hit a rising shot from the right which flew  high into the net. A series of good saves from Bristol netminder John Dibble prevented the home side going further ahead. In a rare moment of Bristol pressure, the puck went loose on the edge of the crease and Jordan Smith forced the puck home at 5.47 for a Pitbulls equaliser.

Penalties against the home side disrupted the attacking flow but in the 18th minute a fierce shot from the blue line by Wild's Tom Jackson, was well saved by Dibble.

Bristol opened the 2nd period with far more purpose, with passing amongst the forwards far more effective. Errors in the Wild defence brought several fine saves from Ruxton when under pressure from Pitbull forwards. In a rare Wild attack a brilliant glove save from Dibble prevented the home side taking a shock lead. A breakaway on the right from Ben Brown resulted in a great angled shot from Vales. Two disputed boarding penalties against Widnes led to further pressure. In the 38th minute Bristol took a lead on the powerplay when Olly Shone fired a low angled shot past Greg Ruxton.

The third period opened well for Widnes, Evans making a brilliant glove save to prevent an equaliser. Filip Supa took a heavy check in centre ice and play was delayed in the 46th minute. Wild were attacking with much more purpose twice within minutes inaccurate shooting failed to bring results with the net wide open. A breakaway from Filip Supa in the 50th minute saw his shot well saved. With just seven minutes remaining Wild saw themselves with a 5 on 3 powerplay. Further Evans saves and failure to force the puck over the line saw Bristol hold on to their slender lead. A well organised Bristol defence neutralised some frantic attacking.

This was a game that Widnes should have won comfortably but spurned chances proved costly. Ken Armstrong took the MVP for Widnes after an all action display on his season debut.

Next Saturday and Sunday Wild meet North 1 Blackburn Hawks in the final pre-season challenge games.  Saturday’s game in Blackburn faces off at 17.40 and Sunday’s return in Widnes will start at 18.15. A big crowd is expected for this first ever clash between North West rivals.

Dick Gillingham ( Widnes Wild Press Liaison)

NIHL South 1: Raiders In / Cardiff Out

Following a tense couple of weeks of behind-the-scenes activity, we are pleased to report that London Raiders will now definitely be able to take part in the forthcoming NIHL South season in Division 1 north. 

However, this is only the first of many hurdles. They are still looking for more sponsors and helpers and you can find out more about London Raiders on their website HERE

Things seem to have taken a turn for the worse down in Cardiff as a dispute over who runs the team seems to have forced the new Cardiff Fire NIHL South 1 team off the ice for the new campaign.  You can read more about that HERE

We will bring you more on this story once things are clarified

Sunday 17 August 2014

London Raiders Need Your Help... RIGHT NOW!

London Raiders are in urgent need of corporate sponsors in order to be able to take their place in NIHL South Division 1 this season, with the first game due to face off against Cardiff Fire on 6th September at Lee Valley Ice Centre, which has been the Raiders' home since the closure of Romford Ice Rink forced the club to move in 2013.

There are numerous sponsorship offers to suit all pockets and budgets - ranging from Match Puck sponsorship at £75, Match Night Sponsor (£200), and individual Player Sponsor (£300) right up to packages aimed at larger companies - such as the team's Major Sponsor and having your own company's name as part of the team name, ie "The London Ice Hockey Review Raiders" - or something like that...

Packages can be tailored to suit a company's particular requirements and anybody interested should send an email to

Also, anybody interested can see a copy of the London Raiders Sponsorship Booklet by clicking: HERE

Widnes Wild NIHL N2 Season Preview

After an amazing first season in the NiHL Laidler Conference it looks like the 2014/15 season is going to be even more exciting for the Widnes Wild and our fans, known throughout British hockey as the Wild Ones.

The season kicks off on Saturday 6th September with our first home game against reigning league champions, the Solihull Barons, and the only team the Wild didn’t beat at least once last season. This is followed on the Sunday with another home game against the Blackburn Eagles.

The following weekend see’s the Wild take their first road trip of the season away at Deeside for a huge game against our local rivals before returning home the following Sunday to play against the Coventry Blaze.

It’s not until the 26th October that the ‘Wild face one of the two new teams in the league, the Bradford Bulldogs in a fixture that’ll be staged in Bradford at a very different rink to our home rink. Fans unable to travel will have to wait until the first home game of the New Year, 10th January, to get a glimpse for the Bulldogs.

The other new team to the league for the 2014/15 season, the Telford Tigers will get to visit Widnes two weekends in a row, meeting for the Wild for the first time on the 23rd November and then again on the 30th November with both games taking place in Widnes.

At the game on the 30th the ‘Wild will be asking fans to “toss a teddy” in aid of local children’s charities. When the first goal of the game is scored fans will be asked to throw a teddy bear onto the ice which the ‘Wild players can then give to disadvantaged children from the local area.

On the 20th December fans and players will invite Sheffield Senators and hockey fans from throughout the area to celebrate Christmas together in a night of hockey and Christmas joy.

To end the season the ‘Wild will play four home games in a row in March against Blackburn, Bradford, Coventry and Deeside before going on two road trips against Hull and then Bradford.

The full fixture list can be found  

Mick Caunce, the ‘Wilds GM said; “last year was really good. Although we started the season inconsistently we gelled really well after Christmas and were one of the form teams leading up to the playoffs. This season will be even better as we have built on solid foundations and put together a strong team with a great ethic.”

Wild Head Coach, Mark Gillingham, added; “Our target is to challenge for promotion to the Moralee conference and we have put together a team that is more than capable of achieving the target. We have the most vocal fans in the league and a rink that provides an amazing atmosphere. The people of Widnes, Runcorn, Merseyside and Cheshire have embraced ice hockey, and especially the ‘Wild, and I’m sure the players will reward them by giving them an exciting season”.

by Dick Gillingham


Saturday 16 August 2014

Hard Day's Night For Haringey Racers

It really was a ‘Hard Day’s Night’ for a number of Racers players as they spent over 5 hours at the Palace filming for their second TV appearance. They were taking part in an episode of “Officially Amazing” which is a revamp of the former ‘Record Breakers’ programme, this time being shown on CBBC.

The filming went on until 1.15 am, with CBBC presenter Ben Shires donning a Racers uniform and showing his skating prowess. (He later admitted it was only about his 3rd time on skates!). He also later added full goalie kit. This is a children’s show, but the programme did include use of an inflatable doll (You’ll have to watch the programme for the explanation).

All the various segments had to be filmed several times to provide different camera angles, including some with players wearing Helmet-cams. It was an extremely interesting procedure to watch, but I think most players were most interested in the huge display of Pizza and Chicken strips generously provided by the Production team.  The skating after the break was markedly slower!!!

The climax of the evening (morning by now!) was 2 Racers attempting to beat hockey-themed World Records:
Firstly – most shots into an empty net from the blue line in one minute.

Second – targets approx 6 inches square were attached to the corners of the goal and the task was to hit as many as possible in 30 seconds.

Obviously, I am not permitted to give any clue as to the success or not of these attempts! You’ll have to watch the programme when it is aired around January 2015.  Keep watching the website for details of the actual transmission date.

Allan Bennett, Haringey Racers

Thursday 14 August 2014

2014 NIHL Yearbook Contents Confirmed

We are pleased to advise that this year's edition will be a massive 156 pages long and, as well as all the team reviews and great photos from the 2013/14 season in NIHL North & South, also includes special features on Chelmsford Chieftains'  Gary Clarke and Wightlink's Andrew Robinson.
There are interviews with:
Sutton Sting's Thomas Stuart-Dant,
Whitley Warriors' Adam Reynolds, 
NIHL Radio's Oz Phillips,
Wightlink Raiders owner Geoff Underwood
and popular referee Tim Pickett
- all for just £7.50! 
Take advantage of our early bird order offer HERE
Once the book is available in October, you will also be able to buy copies in person from Chris Mackenzie in the North East and Chris Randall on the South Coast.
Photo of Tim Pickett by Carol Light  -

Monday 11 August 2014

Challenge Match Report: Widnes Wild 5 - Sheffield Spartans 4

Widnes Wild opened their pre season programme with a challenge game against Division One opponents, Sheffield Spartans. Wild paraded a number of close season signings, including Matt Wainwright, new overseas defenceman Pavel Vales and Great Britain Ladies netminder Nicole Jackson. A sizeable crowd welcomed the teams onto the ice ,with the Wild in their new yellow home strip.

The game got off to a scrappy hectic start. As Wild attacked both Shaun Dipnall and Filip Supa cameclose with shots on Matthew Croyle. Sheffield took the lead at 9.31 when an angled shot from Will Barron, flew past debutant netminder Nicole Jackson. Immediately Filip Supa broke away for the Wild, his shot deflected wide. Widnes were starting to attack with more purpose and after Sheffield took a penalty for too many men on the ice, Wild attacked on the right. A pass to Callum Ruddick saw the big defenceman fire a powerful shot which was tipped in by Supa for the equaliser. The period ended with an altercation and a 2 minute roughing penalty against Sheffield.

The 2nd period opened with both sides counter attacking. It was Sheffield who took a 2- 1 lead when a low shot from Manning found the net. A breakaway by Filip Supa in the 27th minute nearly brought the equaliser Widnes were starting to attack well with the final pass often going astray. The Widnes equaliser came at 31.09 when Filip Supa fired home. Sheffield regained the lead at 37.47, a low angled shot from Will Barron on the right, creeping past Jackson. A minute later a home equaliser from Bez Hughes following good work from Ratcliffe and Preston, brought the crowd to their feet.

The final period opened with a series of counter attacks. Widnes were beginning to attack with more purpose and causing Sheffield to clear the zone hurriedly. However against the run of play Sheffield regained the lead at 49.00. A powerful James Maugham angled shot from distance, flew past Nicole Jackson into the bottom right corner. Within three minutes Widnes were back on level terms. Filip Supa was put away on the right by Bobby Caunce and he cut inside to fire past Brandon Stones for his hat trick goal. The game was won for Widnes in the 53rd minute, when a great cross ice pass found debutant Matt Wainwright unmarked on the blue line. His powerful low shot was too much for Stones and gave Wild a 5- 4 lead.

Both teams continued the battle and the final seconds saw a Bobby Caunce shot almost find the net. New signing from Blackburn Hawks, Sam Dunford, took the Wild MVP for a characteristic all action display.

A great start for the Wild , who lost the corresponding game ,against their lofty opponents , 6 - 1 last season. The atmosphere was heightened by new game MC. Vince Bullock , an experienced hand formerly with Manchester Storm.

Wild return to the ice for another home challenge game, when the Bristol Pitbulls from the Southern division make a rare journey North on Sunday August 24th - face off 18.15.

Dick Gillingham
Filip Supa celebrates his hat-trick goal (top)
GB International netminder Nicole Jackson makes a save (bottom)
Photos by Geoff White -