Saturday 3 June 2023

Book Review: Ice Hockey In Guildford by Stuart Latham (ISBN 978-1915697042)

While the Peterborough Pirates may well have played the Guildford Flames on numerous occasions during the period when I used to regularly watch matches in the grand city of my origin, I can’t say that I have any great recollections of any of them. 

Plus - the only time that I have knowingly ever been anywhere near Guildford was in November 1991 when I took a wrong turning in the dark while looking for the M3, heading away from Portsmouth after a ferry crossing and long drive up through France, and ended up stuck on the slower, less direct “A3M” by mistake…  

So nobody could be more surprised than me to discover that I actually have a small piece of writing in Stuart Latham’s new book about Ice Hockey In Guildford.

Now, ice hockey fans of a similar vintage to me will probably remember Todd Bidner as a highly successful ex-NHL import forward with Fife Flyers and Peterborough and then playing as a reclassified import (do they still have those…?) for a large number of other teams during a 15+ year playing career here in Britain.

He even played for Team GB a few times and I clearly remember him scoring a well taken wrap around goal in the first minute of an Olympic qualifying game against Latvia at Sheffield Arena. Now, although I remember that – and I’m pretty sure that I also saw him play for GB in a friendly match against Denmark at Blackburn which doesn’t seem to be recorded anywhere - I’m afraid that even my trivia-rich brain with a penchant for British league history doesn’t stretch to recalling all the other teams that Todd Bidner has played for.    

But Guildford was obviously one of them - and that is how my, admittedly rather Peterborough-centric,  profile of him qualifies for the new book.

And the benefit about not knowing anything at all about Guildford  – apart from the fact that it is not on the M3 – is that EVERYTHING in Stuart’s 296 page book is new to me and, therefore, completely fascinating.

So, I have been enjoying reading the interview features about Fred Perlini and Dave Graham (who I did, in fact, also know about…) and numerous other players who I haven’t actually heard of.

As is “de rigueur” with a Stuart Latham publication, there are pages and pages of stats from all of the Guildford Flames seasons of existence stretching back to the English League Conference in 1992/93 and coming right up to date with the 2022/23 Elite League – as well as lots of photos as well.

There are comprehensive sections about the Guildford Lightning women’s team – which I am very pleased about - and also the Phoenix NIHL team. 

And if ice hockey is your thing - whether or not you have ever been to Guildford – you are bound to find lots to interest you in this new book.

For orders, drop Stuart a line at (and get him to tell you about all his other fascinating books at the same time…!)