Tuesday 31 May 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Sims Twins To Play In Kenyon Memorial Game At Deeside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 30 May 2016

Women's EIHA Trophy at iceSheffield - Weekend Round Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Thursday 26 May 2016

EIHA Women's Leagues Play Off Weekend at iceSheffield

Match action from Widnes Wild v Streatham Storm league game
Photo by Steve Pollitt
The Widnes Wild Women’s team are taking part in the EIHA Trophy tournament at iceSheffield this weekend.  There are 10 games in total across the weekend involving teams from 4 different divisions and the good news is that admission is absolutely free!

The tournament weekend comprises the Women’s Premier League play offs – involving the top 4 from that division, the Women’s Elite League play offs and the Division 1 north and south playoffs.

In each case there are two semi- finals being played on the Saturday and finals between the winners being played on the Sunday.      There is also a straight final being played between the winners of the U16 north and south divisions being played on the Sunday as well.

The full weekend schedule is as follows: 

Saturday 28 May
09.45 WD1 SF1 – Billingham Wildcats v Cardiff Comets
11.30 WPL SF1 – Swindon Topcats v MK Falcons
13.15 WEL SF 1– Bracknell Queen Bees v Kingston Diamonds
15.30 WD1 SF2– Invicta Dynamics v Kingston Diamonds
17.15 WPL SF2 – Widnes Wild v Streatham Storm
18.45 WEL SF2 – Sheffield Shadows v Solihull Vixens

Sunday 29 May 10.35 WD1 Final – winners SF1 v SF2
12.50 WPL Final – winners SF1 v SF2
15.05 U16 Final – Bracknell Ice Bees v Sheffield Shadows
16.50 WEL Final – winners SF1 v SF2

The EIHA Women’s Committee are continuing the fundraising for RNLI which began at Conference weekend and has raised over £2,000 so far. Programmes, raffle and 50-50 will all be on sale to add to this total.


Steve Moria and Tony Hand Inducted Into British Ice Hockey Hall Of Fame

Steve Moria
Photo by (John Milton www.eventog.uk)
TONY Hand MBE and Steve Moria have been inducted into the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.

The duo, who are household names in the sport, were inducted after overwhelming nominations from members of Ice Hockey Journalists UK. Their contribution to Ice Hockey is exceptional and their place in the Hall of Fame a more than worthy accolade.

IHJUK and Hall of Fame Chairman Mike Appleton said: “The induction of both Tony and Steve is thoroughly deserved. They are without doubt two of the most worthy inductees we have had in recently seasons with their contributions to our sport second to none.

“Presentations will take place in Manchester and Cardiff next season to celebrate Tony and Steve's induction. They will be special and memorable occasions.

“On behalf of the Hall of Fame committee I would like to congratulate them on this achievement.”

Tony Hand MBE
Photo by John Milton (www.eventog.uk)
The British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame was started in 1948 by the weekly newspaper "Ice Hockey World", but lapsed with the publication's demise in 1958. The Hall of Fame was revived in 1986 by the British Ice Hockey Writers' Association, the name was changed in 2006 to Ice Hockey Journalists UK. Each year, a sub-committee of IHJUK considers potential new members for induction, the criterion being that an individual must have rendered "outstanding service to British Ice Hockey".

The duo were inducted after the Hall of Fame Committee reviewed nominations over the last two seasons.

Monday 16 May 2016

WPL Round Up / Widnes Wild Women's Team 5 - Nottingham Vipers 3

Widnes Wild Women’s Team 5 – Nottingham Vipers 3
Period Scores: 0-1, 2-2, 3-0
Shots on Goal: Widnes 56 – Nottm 29
Penalties in Minutes: Widnes 6 – Nottm 41

The Widnes Wild women’s’ team finished off their first ever EIHA Women’s Premier League campaign on a winning note with a hard fought 5-3 home victory over Nottingham Vipers.   

The Wild team had a point to prove after a disappointing defeat at home to Whitley Squaws the week before while Nottingham needed a positive result in order to stay ahead of Chelmsford Cobras and avoid finishing bottom of the table.

As it turned out, it was the Nottingham team who were quickest off the blocks and shocked the home crowd into silence with a goal after just 36 seconds of the game.   

Obviously rocked by this early setback it took the Wild women a while to reorganise themselves and while they enjoyed lots of possession in the first period, they were unable to make any sort of breakthrough. Two power play opportunities came and went and the first period ended with Nottingham leading 0-1.

Things did not improve greatly for the home side as the second period got underway.  While pushing up to take advantage of another powerplay situation, the Wild allowed Nottingham captain and top scorer Robin Mullen through to score a shorthanded goal.

Then when Catherine Bowen Fell finally slotted home to score Widnes’ first goal of the game (26.02 – asst Emma Pearson), a defensive mix up right from the restart saw the puck trickle beyond the despairing reach of netminder Stephanie Drinkwater and edge across the line to restore the Vipers’ 2 goal advantage.

But that was as good as it got the for the visiting Nottingham team. They started picking up penalties and Widnes were able to gradually pull themselves back into the game.

Wild's Leen de Decker (#5) and Katie Hills (#13)
A second goal from Bowen Fell on a powerplay for hooking call made it 2-3 (31.25 – asst Pearson) and when a Nottingham player was given a 5+game for checking and another picked up a checking minor soon afterwards, you just felt that the Wild team would make something of the resulting 5 on 3 play. The Vipers defended most resolutely however and the score remained 2-3 at the end of the second period.

The third period was a very closely contested and tense affair. Widnes equalised on 44.27 with another powerplay gaol (Leen de Decker, asst Charlene Chapman) and the scene was set for a nail-biting finale.

The turning point came when Widnes found themselves on the wrong end of a 3 on 5 with both Katie Hills and Catherine Bowen Fell banished to the penalty box for minor penalties at the same time.   The Wild women fought a brave rear-guard action to keep the rampaging Vipers at bay during this crucial period of the game and as the penalties expired (53.50), both played players sprinted up the ice to combined for the go-ahead goal that put Widnes in front for the first time in the game (53.53 - Hills, asst Bowen Fell).

A second goal from Leen de Decker (57.29 – asst Megan Bowen Fell)    finally put some daylight between the two teams and the game finished 5-3 to the Widnes Wild women.

The result means that the Widnes Wild women’s team finish in second place with 19 points from their 14 games, 7 points behind champions Swindon Topcats who didn’t lose a single game all season.

Perhaps more importantly, they finish ahead of Streatham Storm, Milton Keynes Falcons and Slough Phantoms who had all played in the Premier League last season and who all boast very fine pedigrees in women’s hockey.   

At the bottom of the table, Chelmsford Cobras lost 13-1 away at Whitley Squaws, meaning that they pick up the wooden spoon, with Nottingham Vipers finishing above them based on games between the two sides.  

The top four teams in the WPL now meet in the play-off weekend which will take place at iceSheffield on 28th and 29th May. The semi-finals will be held on the Saturday and the final played on the Sunday. Watch this space for more details as they become available.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Charity Match In Memory of Bob Kenyon - Deeside Ice Rink, 26th June 2016

A very special charity match will be played at Deeside ice rink on Sunday 26th June in aid of two very worth causes.  The Bob Kenyon Memorial Shield game will feature former players from the Blackpool Seagulls, Deeside Dragons, Altrincham Aces, Liverpool Leopards and Blackburn Hawks in a match to celebrate the life of the former Seagulls stalwart who died recently.

Bob Kenyon was a player for the Blackpool Seagulls from the 1960s and took over as manager in 1970, and was one of the driving forces behind the forming of the new Southern League. He won the Southern League coach of the year award on two occasions and led the Seagulls to two English League North titles in 80/81 and 81/2.

Bob was instrumental in orchestrating the Seagulls’ campaigns in the Heineken League period and only stepped down in 1988 when the owners of the Pleasure Beach arena cut the team’s funding, forcing them to drop out of import hockey.  Kenyon’s influence continued, however, as the Seagulls carried on playing in the English Leagues until 1993 when the team moved to Blackburn. Even now, the Kenyon legacy continues as new generations of players and coaches around the North West benefit from those who had his coaching and support.     

The event is being organised by Bob’s son Darryl Kenyon who played in goal for the Seagulls and whose own daughter Jennifer is herself a promising junior netminder.           

The match faces off at 4pm and admission is £2 per adult with under-12s admitted free.  There will also be a bucket collection and raffle – any prizes will be gratefully received.

A full list of the players who will be turning out in memory of Bob Kenyon will be issued nearer the time. 

All proceeds will be split between the Christie Hospital in Manchester and Trinity Hospice in Blackpool, who both took care of Bob during his illness.  

Monday 9 May 2016

Women's Premier League Round Up / Widnes Wild Women's Team 2 - Whitley Squaws 3

Sunday 8th May 2016
Widnes Wild Women’s Team 2 – Whitley Squaws 3

Period Scores: 1-1, 0-1, 1-1
Shots On Goal: Widnes 32 – Whitley 28
Penalties in Minutes: Widnes 16 – Whitley 10

Widnes Scoring:  Leen de Decker 1+0, Charlene Chapman 1+0, Emma Pearson 0+1, Catherine Bowen Fell 0+1
Whitley Scoring:  Amy Campbell 1+2, Stephanie Towns 1+1
Referee: Mark Whittle

The Widnes Wild women’s team secured second place in the EIHA Women’s Premier League in their first season at this level, despite losing at home to Whitley Squaws 2-3 on Sunday in a hard fought and entertaining game at Silver Blades, Widnes.

With challengers Milton Keynes Falcons narrowly losing at home to champions Swindon Topcats in their last league game later in the day, it meant that the Wild women couldn’t be caught and that the scoreline in their own game was – luckily - immaterial.

With Widnes having won 2-10 away in the North East a few weeks ago, you might have expected this return match to be a largely one-sided affair but that was far from the case.  With a few players missing, and some having to play out of their normal positions, the Wild team seemed to missing a certain spark whereas the Squaws looked very well organised and played with determination and spirit throughout the game. 

Despite this, the game started very evenly and Whitley opened the scoring at 6.55 when Melissa Gough slotted away a pass from team captain Amy Campbell.  The home side rallied from this early set back and got themselves back on level terms with a goal from Leen de Decker on 14.23 (asst Emma Pearson).  The score remained level at the first break and Widnes came out all fired up for the second period but were unable to make the most of the pressure that they were putting on the Whitley net.

This turned out to be the most penalty-littered of games that we have seen from the Wild women at home this season and it was, unfortunately, the penalty count that led to their downfall on this occasion.

Whitley’s second goal of the game (25.58 – Campbell, asst Stephanie Towns) came from a powerplay opportunity, while the Wild were shorthanded from a holding penalty and their third goal (47.50 – Towns, asst Campbell) came on a tripping powerplay.
Elizabeth Wright receives the Widnes MVP
award from Lucy London

Widnes captain Charlene Chapman battled through to put the Wild women back in the game on 53.50 (asst Catherine Bowen Fell) and, with the pressure that followed, one might have expected a dramatic late equaliser and another 3-3 home draw.  But it was not to be.  The Squaws upped their game again and defended most resolutely. 

Widnes pulled their netminder for that last 30 seconds or so but were unable to take any advantage from the extra player and Whitley held on to pick up their first away victory since November and only their 4th win of the season overall. 

The Squaws are at home next Sunday in their last game of the season – with Chelmsford Cobras the visitors.  Whitley are assured a 6th place finish in the WPL irrespective of the result although they will undoubtedly be keen to finish the season on a winning note.  

Amy Moran receives the Whitley MVP
award from Lucy London
Chelmsford - who lost 3-5 at home to Slough Phantoms - need a positive result to give them any chance of hauling themselves off the bottom of the table.  Nottingham Vipers are level on points with them but have the better playing record between the two teams.

The Vipers provide the opposition at Silver Blades Widnes next Sunday for the Widnes Wild women’s team’s last game of the season. Face off is 5.30pm and admission is free.  
Wirral-based writer, broadcaster and historian Lucy London was on hand to present the MVP awards at the end of the Widnes v Whitley game. You can read more about her current projects  HERE

Saturday 7 May 2016

Widnes Wild Women's Team Aim For 2nd Place Finish

Photo by Steve Pollitt
The Widnes Wild women’s team have the chance to secure second place in the EIHA Women’s Premier league with a home game against Whitley Squaws at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

In the reverse fixture in the north east 2 weeks ago, the Wild women won 2-10 with Catherine Bowen Fell scoring 3+0 and Katie Hills hitting 2+5. 

The only team that can catch them for the runners up spot are Milton Keynes Falcons who face off and hour later than Widnes later in a tricky home clash against champions Swindon Top Cats. Swindon have not lost a game all season and already beat MK in Wiltshire earlier in the campaign.

The Wild v Whitley game faces off at 5.30pm on Sunday and admission is free.

Monday 2 May 2016

WPL Update & Match Report - Milton Keynes Falcons 1 - Widnes Wild Women's Team 1

Goalmouth action from the game between Milton Keynes and Widnes
Photo by Lucy McGill Photography
The Widnes Wild women’s team took a step closer to securing the runners up spot in the Women’s Premier League with a close- fought 1-1 draw away at Milton Keynes Falcons.

Looking for revenge over the only team to have beaten them at home this season, the Wild women had the upper hand in the first period – outshooting their hosts by more than 2 to 1 but were unable to make a breakthrough.

Milton Keynes eventually scored first during a more evenly balanced second period with their only goal of the game coming from Sarah Carter at 35.53 (asst Kirsten Noble).

Despite battering the MK goal again in the third period, it took until 53.36 for Widnes to find the back of the net when Abi Culshaw picked up from Catherine Bowen Fell to slot in a well-deserved equaliser.

Penalty calls on both sides made the last few minutes interesting and Widnes had a powerplay opportunity in the last 2 minutes of the match but were unable to force in that all-important game winning goal.

Sharing the points means that the Widnes women’s team are not yet assured of finishing in second place as both they and MK still have a game to plays.

Action photo from Chelmsford Cobras' 6-4 home win over Whitley Squaws
Photo by Steve Sutherland www.icecoldphoto.co.uk
Streatham Storm, however will not be overtaking them as they drew their final game of the season 1-1 away at Nottingham Vipers and finish up with 16 points from their 14 games.  They are currently in 3rd but could be overtaken by MK if they win their last game of the season at home to champions Swindon Top Cats next weekend.

That draw was Nottingham’s third of the season and the first time they have gone unbeaten in back to back fixtures all year.  

As expected, Swindon Top Cats secured the league title after their 9-0 shut out of Slough Phantoms ensured they couldn’t be caught by any of the chasing pack with games in hand. Player coach Rebecca Osman top scored with 3+2 and netminder Gemma Davies kept out all 30 shots she faced. They are unbeaten in all their 13 league season but face a tricky away trip to Milton Keynes for their last game of the campaign. 

Chelmsford Cobras pulled themselves briefly off the bottom of the table with a closely fought 6-4 win over Whitley Squaws. This was only their 2nd win of the season and brought to an end a run of 6 consecutive defeats. However, Nottingham Vipers’ 1-1 draw at home to Streatham Storm later in the day saw them leapfrog the Cobras up into 7th place.