Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Book Review: Brighton Tigers - A Story Of Sporting Passion

A lot of modern ice hockey fans probably won’t know that the Brighton Tigers were a big part of hockey history from the opening of their superb SS (Sports Stadium) in the 1930s right up until it was controversially closed in 1965 just when British ice hockey was slowly edging towards its next golden era.

However, I have been watching ice hockey just about long enough to remember the valiant Brighton BVH Royals team who kept the hockey flag flying for the South Coast in Division 3 of the British League where they had to play all of their games away for double points so - as a keen reader of Stewart Roberts’ excellent Ice Hockey Annual over the years, I have always followed the various campaigns to get a new ice rink built in Brighton and, when Stewart announced that he was working on this history of the former Tigers team, I knew it would be something special.

While the main thrust of this book is, obviously, the Tigers teams of the 1930s to the 1960s there is a very interesting introduction that tells of earlier rinks in the Brighton area – namely the Victorian circular rink that operated from 1897-1901 and then a more modern facility at Hove (1929-1932).

This book is an absolute mine of information. Who knew, for example, that while most leisure facilities were closed for the duration of World War 2, the Brighton Sports Stadium had ice hockey matches on every week featuring a mixture of local players and visiting Canadian servicemen…?

There is a complete player directory of everybody who ever turned out for the Tigers teams - and that is quite an achievement in itself bearing in mind the scarcity of statistical information from the pre-war and immediate post war periods - as well as lots of great photos of many of the stars.

I may be slightly biased as this is the sort of book that I like to produce myself  - as well as to read - but it means that I can easily appreciate the huge amount of work that is involved in putting this sort of thing together  – seeking out all the facts and figures, getting permission for all the photos, checking and rechecking all the data…  It’s is a huge undertaking and even more so when a lot of the people are dead and there is nobody around to ask anything!

Whether you’re a modern hockey fan – or a bit of a nostalgia fan like me – or maybe know nothing about it and want to find out more, this book is definitely worth read.

And you don’t have to take my word for it – here are comments that a few other people have made:

“Book arrived yesterday, thank you. I've got to say how very impressed I am with it. You should be very proud. An everlasting history of the famous Brighton Tigers and an absolute must for Tigers (Bengals) fans everywhere and for sports fans generally in Brighton.” - Gordon Wade, Heineken League statistician.

“Received through the post yesterday a copy of your book on Brighton Tigers. It is excellent - superb lay-out and illustrations. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement that provides a comprehensive record of the sport in Brighton. And can be used as a powerful PR tool to 'sell' Brighton to any potential developers as the place in the UK to locate a new ice facility.” - David Gordon, ice hockey historian and member of Britain's Hall of Fame committee.

“Thanks for sending the book so quickly. I’m having fun dipping in and out of it from time to time and it’s really interesting to hear and see what went on before I was even born. I think it’s a fabulous book, very striking and smart-looking and very well put together.” - Vicki Gardner, Brighton resident.

“Really enjoying the book - Great work! And a real history lesson too, makes me wanna get the skates on!” - Gary O'Brien, son of Tigers' legend Mike O'Brien.

You can order your copy of the book via Amazon HERE

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Launch Of the "Peelers IHC" Northern Police Team


A new ice hockey team will be taking its first steps at the Planet Ice rink in Widnes this July with the first ever training session of the brand new Peelers IHC Northern Police team.

The Peelers are named after the founder of the UK police service Sir Robert Peel and, despite having only been formed a few weeks ago – in the middle of the Covid 19 lockdown - already have some 60 team members from across 12 different police forces and constabularies across the north of England.

The club is aimed at people who have an association with the police including Police Officers, PCSO, Special Constables, Communication Staff, Police Staff and Ex Members or employees and has players with a wide range of experience and ability from former GB internationals down to complete beginners.

The team plan to meet once a month at a different rink around the north of the country so as to balance out the travelling for members who are based further away and to hold training camp style sessions of 4 to 5 hours duration to make the most of the time together. 

The Peelers IHC will initially be playing memorial and charity games but there are also plans to set up  tournaments and a league with other emergency services teams.

To find out more about the Peelers IHC, follow their Facebook page HERE 


Sunday, 7 June 2020

North West Lions Set To Roar


Recreational players from across the North West have been invited to join a new ice hockey team, which will see them taking part in overseas tournaments - flying the flag for their region and country.

Rather like the British Lions rugby union representative team, the new North West Lions tournament ice hockey team has been set up especially to play matches abroad and, as its name suggests, will comprise players taken from the north west rinks of Widnes, Deeside, Altrincham and Blackburn.

With the costs and time commitments involved in travelling abroad for this sort of event being a problem for many, it has always been difficult in the past for regular recreational teams to get enough players to be able to take part - and the idea of this new team is to draw together a suitable pool players from across the region to be able to send a strong enough team to compete against foreign opposition.

The Lions have been invited to take part in an 8-team tournament in Vlasim in the Czech Republic next April and, assuming that the restrictions on foreign travel and sporting events have been relaxed by then, that will be their first competitive outing.

Planning is still in its very early stages and any players interested in being involved with the North West Lions are asked to get in touch via the Facebook page HERE



Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Player Of The Month Awards For February 2020

Leen de Decker (left) of the Widnes Wild women's team and Phil Pearson of the Wild NIHL team both scooped their Divisional player of the Month awards for February 2020 - the first time that two players from the same club have been selected in the same month. (Photos by Paul Breeze and Geoff White)    

The NIHL and WNIHL have announced the winners of the OddBalls Player of the Month awards for February 2020.

In the National Ice Hockey League the winners are:
NATIONAL DIVISION: Martins Susters (Peterborough Phantoms)
DIVISION 1 NORTH: Richard Lawson (Whitley Warriors)
DIVISION 1 SOUTH: Ryan Watt (Streatham IHC)
DIVISION 2 NORTH: Phil Pearson (Widnes Wild)
DIVISION 2 SOUTH: Josh Abbott (Guildford Phoenix)

Across the Women’s National Ice Hockey League, the divisional winners are:
ELITE LEAGUE: Sarah Hutchinson (Solihull Vixens)
PREMIER LEAGUE: Libby Bird (Kingston Diamonds)
DIVISION ONE NORTH: Leen de Decker (Widnes Wild)
DIVISION ONE SOUTH: Ellen Jo Cole (Coventry Phoenix)
UNDER 16 NORTH: Ava Breuza (Kingston Diamonds)
UNDER 16 SOUTH: Lily Endicott (Swindon Top Kittens)

All winners receive an Obble hat, courtesy of the prize sponsors, clothing company OddBalls.

OddBalls are an underwear and clothing brand who raise money and awareness for testicular cancer. They have also recently partnered with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust using their women’s clothing ranges to raise money and awareness of cervical cancer.

Their latest ranges of men’s, women’s and kids clothing as well as accessories like umbrellas and towels can be found online at www.myoddballs.com .

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

NIHL Player of the Month Awards For January 2020

Shaun Dippnall of Widnes Wild won the Laidler Division award for January (photo by Geoff White / gw-images.com)
The NIHL are pleased to announce the winner of January’s Player of the Month, presented in association with OddBalls.
Each divisional winner receives an iconic ‘Obble’ hat courtesy of our sponsors.
Once again the standard was very high and the final choice was a difficult one, however congratulations to each of the winners.

National Division – Jason Hewitt (Hull Pirates)

North 1 (Moralee) – Harry Harley (Whitley Warriors)

North 2 (Laidler) – Shaun Dippnall (Widnes Wild)

South 1 (Britton) – Rupert Quiney (Streatham IHC)

South 2 (Wilkinson) – Petr Cech (Guildford Phoenix)

OddBalls are an underwear and clothing brand who raise money and awareness for testicular cancer.  They have also recently partnered with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust using their women’s clothing ranges to raise money and awareness of cervical cancer.
Their latest ranges of men’s, women’s and kids clothing as well as accessories like umbrellas and towels can be found online at www.myoddballs.com.

WNIHL Player of the Month Awards For January 2020

The WNIHL management are pleased to announce their Players of the Month for January, presented in association with OddBalls.
Each winner receives an iconic ‘Obble’ hat courtesy of our sponsors.
Elite – Saffron Allen (Solihull Vixens)
Premier – Mackenzie Wilding (Cardiff Comets)
Division 1 – Lucy Farestvedt (Coventry Phoenix)
U16 North – Melissa Veal (Kingston Diamonds)
U16 South – Ellie Wallace (Swindon Top Kittens)
OddBalls are an underwear and clothing brand who raise money and awareness for testicular cancer. They have also recently partnered with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust using their women’s clothing ranges to raise money and awareness of cervical cancer.
Their latest ranges of men’s, women’s and kids clothing as well as accessories like umbrellas and towels can be found online at www.myoddballs.com.