Not only was this EIHA Under 16 game the first competitive fixture played by a Blackpool Seagulls team in over 20 years, it was also the first match ever to be played on a full size ice surface in the North West resort.
It was fitting that this first home game for the Seagulls was against North West rivals Deeside Dragons as there has always been a lot of player movement between the two clubs and this meant that Sunday’s game was the ideal opportunity to commemorate the recent passing of a hugely missed ice hockey dad.
The STEVE SWIFT MEMORIAL CUP was presented to the winning team and will now be played for each time that Blackpool and Deeside play each other.
Steve Swift was the father of Corey Swift who now captains the new Seagulls team but previously played with Deeside, as Steve’s wife Learne explains:
“Corey was at Deeside for two years and Steve drove him to training every Tuesday and to every game whether home or away. They knew they could always rely on him. We have made many lifetime friends there who have continued to support us.
“It was Deb and Matt Humphreys who thought of the memorial game yesterday in his honour and provided the trophy. It was Steve’s pure generosity, kindness and friendship that made a large impression on everyone at Deeside.”
After the match, the Memorial Cup was presented by Steve’s brother Paul - who himself plays for the Blackpool Seagulls recreational team - and sisters Debbie Biddulph and Jodie Baker.
Paul said: “It was a very nice gesture yesterday and we can't thank the ice hockey family enough, even with the Seagulls flowers at his funeral.
“The match and presentation were very poignant for us all. I haven't been down to play or train with the Seagulls since Steve died, but the kindness and warmth the team (Peter Bleackley, Darryl Kenyon, Gary Shearman etc ) have shown makes me realise and look forward to returning to the ice.”
Photo (left to right): Corey Swift, Debbie Biddulph, Paul Swift & Jodie Baker with the Steve Swift Memorial Cup. Photo by Peter Heyworth - www.styleimage.co.uk