Monday 29 May 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Riverside Raiders 17 - Sheffield Ice Tigers 4

Match Details:
Sunday 28th May 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 17 – Sheffield Ice Tigers 4
Period Scores: 6-0, 7-3, 4-1
Penalties in Minutes:  Raiders 16 – Sheffield 12

Raiders Scoring:  Thomas Yates 6+2, Geraint Evans 5+1, Owen Tennant 3+3, Jack Walker 2+2, Adam Jenkins 1+2, Anthony Hughes 0+2, Elizabeth Wright 0+1

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders team got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 17-4 win over Sheffield Ice Tigers in the Puckstop Summer Classic at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The Raiders took the lead as early as the 3rd minute and, after adding 4 more by the end of the first period, the game already looked over as a contest against the bottom team in the group.

Despite the scoreline, this was a highly entertaining to watch and not, in fact, quite as one-sided as it might appear.  The Ice Tigers gave a good account themselves and hit back with 3 goals of their own in the second period which was particularly robustly contested – and finished in dramatic style with goals for both teams and a raft of penalties all coming in the last 90 seconds before the buzzer.

With the score standing at 13-3 after 40 minutes of play, the third period was little more than a formality, but the resulting 17-4 scoreline means gives the Raiders a good cushion in terms of goal difference which may become crucial in the deciding stages of the competition.

Scoring-wise, Thomas Yates led the way with 6+2 – including a first period hat-trick, while the competition’s top scorer Gez Evans hit 5+1. Owen Tennant – who also coaches the successful Widnes Wild women’s team added 3+3 which contributed towards him receiving the MVP award at the end of the game.

The Raiders are away next Sunday 3rd June when they face Wyre Seagulls at the Silver Blades Blackburn Arena in a 6pm face off and after that, they have a few weeks’ respite before playing Telford in a challenge match back at Silver Blades, Widnes on Sunday 2nd July.

The Widnes Wildcats lost 3-6 at home to Solihull Vikings in their latest Summer Cup game at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday night.  They are next at home on Sunday 11th June when they face Durham Dragons in an 8.30pm face off.

Next Sunday, 4th June, the Widnes rink’s third recreational team the Halton Huskies are in action when they take on the Wyre Seagulls in a challenge match at Silver Blades Widnes. The game faces off at 7.15 and admission is free.

Saturday 27 May 2017

Your Eagles Stories Wanted For Complete History Book.

We are putting together – with the invaluable help of Darren Shaw and Andrew Duxbury - a complete history of the Blackburn Eagles team.
The book will include:  
Full stats for their 5 seasons from 12/13 to 16/17, 
full "A to Z” player directory with stats and photos
all time highest achievers etc
Lancashire Raptors archive
but we also want to include people’s individual stories as well.
If former players, coaches, team staff, supporters etc,  would like to share some of their favourite Eagles memories, please drop me or Darren a line. It doesn’t have to be “War & Peace” – approx. 450 words with your favourite photo would suffice – and we’ll try and include a varied selection in the fished book. 
Just hockey banter and good memories, please - no politics  or “anti-rink owner” stuff as that will not be accepted. 
Deadline for all submissions is next Sunday 4th June.
For more information, contact us HERE

Monday 22 May 2017 Summer Classic - Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 5 - Grimsby Stormers 6

Sunday 21st May 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 5 – Grimsby Stormers 6
Period Scores: 3-0, 1-2, 1-4
Penalties in Minutes: Raiders – Grimsby

Raiders Scoring:  Geraint Evans 2+2, Sam Plant 2+0, Owen Tennant 1+0, Jack Walker 0+1, Ben Donkin 0+1

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders lost their 100% record in the Puckstop Summer Classic in dramatic fashion with a narrow 5-6 defeat at the hands of the Grimsby Stormers at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.   

The Raiders had won 8-10 away in Grimsby the week before but this meeting of the top two teams in the group was always going to be a close-fought and robust encounter and the importance of the occasion was highlighted by the presence of IIHF and Elite League official Kris Wells as match referee.

The game started well for the home side who took the lead in the 5th minute through a Sam Plant strike and extended it to 3-0 by the first break with two quick goals within 12 seconds of each other from, first, Geraint Evans and then Plant again.

The period break seemed to interrupt the Raiders’ momentum as Grimsby looked the better side coming out for the second period. Two goals - in the 24th and 27th minutes - pulled them back into the game and it wasn’t until the 35th minute that the Raiders managed to muster a reply – a well taken shorthanded goal by Evans for his second of the game.

The score stood at 4-2 to the Raiders at end of the second period but there was still lots to play for in the last 20 minutes.

A goal for Grimsby after just 2 minutes of the restart put the game back on a knife edge and then the Raiders were called for having too many men on the ice during a line change.  A raft for penalties for both sides followed this and the Raiders seemed to lose their flow at this point.

Things could have got even worse for the Raiders as the Stormers were awarded a penalty shot just 3 minutes later which might have led to the equalising goal had the puck not been bravely blocked by the Riverside netminder.

A Grimsby goal did eventually follow on 49 minutes to put them on level pegging but Raiders’ Owen Tennant fired home to edge the home team back into the lead with just under 5 minutes left to play.

The lead lasted just under 90 seconds this time before the Stormers levelled again and Raiders’ hearts were broken a minute later when Grimsby took the lead for the first time in the game with the clock standing at 57.42.

The remaining time was played out at a frantic pace with penalties for both sides but no further goals were scored, meaning that the Stormers were able to come away with a 5-6 victory.

The Raiders till top the Puckstop Summer Classic table with 6 points from their 4 games to date.  The Stormers remain second with 4 points from 3 games and the Wyre Seagulls join them on 4 points after their 13-5 win over Blackburn Buccaneers.

The Riverside Raiders are at home again next Sunday 28th May when they play the Sheffield Ice Tigers at Silver Blades Widnes. Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.

The Widnes Wildcats are also at home next Sunday 28th May when they entertain the Solihull Vikings in a Summer Cup game at Silver Blades Widnes. Face off is at 8.30pm - after the Riverside Raiders game - and admission is free.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

"Ice Cold Murder" - murder mystery story by Michael Chambers - Pre Order Now!

Here’s a book that will be of interest to hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike – the reason being that it is not for once a statistics and history publications but a murder mystery story!  But there is still some ice hockey content because it is a murder mystery set around an ice hockey match. 

Needless to say, the story is completely fictitious but the settings and characters are based around the old Nottingham Ice Stadium, players and people who worked there and used to go to Panthers matches.

The book has been written by Michael Chambers - who is better known for his statistical histories – but I have had a (very) small hand in helping to put it together so am in a unique position to be able to tell you a bit about it.

Basically (without giving away too much of the plot…) somebody gets murdered and there are lots of odd comings and goings and people with secrets to hide and hidden agendas to cover up. We follow Inspector Dilley as he tries to un-weave the mass web of deceptions and intrigue and see if we can guess who the murderer is before he announces it at the end.

The book has maps and diagrams to help you understand the layout of the crime scene and there are delightful photos of some of the characters and locations.      

Even if you are not interested in ice hockey, you will still find it a good read from a crime novel point and if you are familiar with the old Ice Stadium and some of its characters, then you will probably enjoy it from a fun nostalgia perspective as well.    

“Ice Cold Murder” by Michael Chambers is due for publication at the end of September and costs £8.75 including standard UK postage.  It is a special limited edition so if you want to make sure of reserving your copy, drop Mick a line now  HERE  and he will sort out payment arrangements.  

Monday 15 May 2017

Wildcats Outfoxed As Falcons Swoop

Sunday 14th May 2017 – Summer Cup
Widnes Wildcats 2 – Blackburn Falcons 8
Period Scores:  1-4, 1-3, 0-1
Penalties In Minutes: tba
Widnes Scoring:  tba

The Widnes Wildcats put in a battling performance in their Summer Cup game at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday but unfortunately ended up on the wrong end of a 2-8 scoreline at the hands of the Blackburn Falcons.

While the defeat may be disappointing, the Wildcats can take heart from the fact that they were up against a team bristling with former Blackburn Hawks and Blackburn Eagles / Lancashire Raptors national league players and that, despite the eventual scoreline, they actually matched them play for play for extended periods of the game.

As it turned out, the Wildcats actually took the lead after just 80 seconds of play after the puck took an unfortunate deflection off a Blackburn player’s skate and looped past the netminder into the goal.

The lead lasted until the 9th minute when the Falcons’ mounting pressure eventually paid off and they went on to score two more quick goals to lead 1-3 by the 12th minute.

The Wildcats called a 30-second time out following this and it helped break up the Falcons momentum and give the home side chance to reorganise. They held firm for a good five minutes and were only caught out at the back when pushing up for a second goal while on a powerplay, leaving the score at the end of the first period at 1-4 to the visitors.

The second period started badly for the Wildcats and three more goals put the Falcons 1-7 ahead by the mid-point of the game. Things began to get a bit physical and a Falcons’ player was sent to the penalty box.  The Wildcats were pushing forward to make the most of their man advantage when the puck took an unfortunate ricochet off a player’s stick and flew into the crowd. The match officials – who, otherwise, did a very good job all game – mysteriously decided to call the Wildcats’ player for “delaying the game”. 

It was somewhat unclear as to why they might have thought that a player from a team that was losing 1-7 and was on the attack on a powerplay might suddenly choose the delay the game but he was duly banished to the penalty box, thus denying the home team the man advantage.     

This incident provoked a notable phase of the game where the Wildcats were constantly under pressure and kept picking up minor penalties while trying to keep the Falcons at bay. They were forced to play 3 against 5 for the next 5 minutes or so and actually seemed to fare better while sitting back and concentrating on defending.

The Falcons thought they had scored again on 32 minutes but the goal was disallowed as it had come from a high stick and, once the various Widnes penalties had elapsed, they managed to get on the scoresheet again themselves to make the score 2-7.

The last 5 minutes of the second period were goalless and it took right up until the 55th minute of the game before the goal lamp was lit again – with Blackburn scoring their first goal since the 28th minute and rounding off the action for the match.   

The Widnes Wildcats’ next game is on Sunday 28th May when they face Solihull Vikings at Silver Blades Widnes.  It is a later than normal face off time – 8.30pm – because of the Riverside Raiders game against Sheffield beforehand which faces off at 4.30pm. Admission to both games is free so why not make an evening of it and enjoy some great competitive ice hockey…?

Sunday 14 May 2017

Raiders Extend 100% Record in Summer Classic

Photo by James Birtwistle
Saturday 13th May 2017 – Summer Classic
Grimsby Stormers 8 – Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 10
Period Scores: 3-3, 3-4, 2-3
Penalties In Minutes: Grimsby 8 – Raiders 12

Raiders  Scoring:
Tom Yates 3+1, Owen Tennant, Elizabeth Wright & Geraint Lewis all 2+0, Sam Plant 1+1, David Thurnaby and Jack Warwick both 0+2,  Stephen  Harvey 0+1

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders maintained their impressive 100% start to the Summer Classic competition with an entertaining 8-10 win away at Grimsby Stormers.

The Grimsby rink is under threat of closure and it was only due to the facility being granted a six month reprieve while alternative funding options are being explored that this game was able to go ahead at all.  It was originally expected that all of the Stormers’ games would have to be played away for double points.

As it was, the home team were quickest out of the blocks and raced to a 3-0 lead by the 15th minute. A powerplay goal from the Raiders’ Elizabeth Wright almost dead on 18 minute gave the Widnes side hope of an early comeback and then two quick goals in the last minute of the period -    from Owen Tennant and Sam Plant – tied the scores going into the first break.

The second period was as entertaining as the first with plenty of shots on both goals and an early goal from Thomas Yates edged the Raiders into a 3-4 lead. That lead lasted barely five minutes before the Stormers levelled the score but then goals from Wright, Tennant and Yates again put the visitors in a commanding position. However, a strike in between from the Stormers and another in the dying seconds of the period pulled the score back to 6-7 - with plenty still to play for in the remaining 20 minutes.

Two goals within seconds of each other around the 45 minute mark – scored by Yates and Geraint Evans - put the Raiders comfortably in front again but two quick goals back for Grimsby put Widnes hearts in mouths as a late fightback still looked distinctly possible.

However a shorthanded goal from Captain Lewis rounded off the scoring for the game and the Raiders came away with an important 8-10 victory.

The Raiders remain top of the Summer Classic league table with 6 points from their opening three games with Geraint Lewis topping the scoring charts with 7+1.

The Riverside Raiders are back at home next Sunday 21st May when they play the return fixture against Grimsby Stormers at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.    

Saturday 13 May 2017

Review; NIHL North Play Off Weekend Highlights DVD from Pyro Media - available to order now!

If you’re a follower of NIHL North ice hockey – or are now going to be next season after the merging of the divisions - here’s something you might like to have a look at. 

Matt Donnachie and the team at Pyro Media filmed all the games at the NIHL North Play Off weekend at iceSheffield in April and have made them available to buy and keep as an everlasting souvenir.

The games covered are the Moralee Conference semi-finals – Solway Sharks v Solihull Barons and Billingham Stars v Blackburn Hawks – that were played on the Saturday and the Moralee final that was played on the Sunday.  (If you don’t already know who won, I’m not going to spoil it for you until after you have watched the video…!)

There are also the two Laidler Conference semi-finals:  Blackburn Eagles v Sheffield Senators and Widnes Wild v Altrincham Aces from the Saturday - and the Laidler final from the Sunday as well.

As I wasn’t able to attend the actual weekend, it is great for me to be able to see everything that went on – and even if you were there, you probably won’t have seen everything that happened, so it will be nice to be able to have another look.

The video footage is taken from several viewpoints and there are slow motion replays of the main talking points.  Commentary is by the team from NIHL Radio who also did a really good job of providing the live play-by-play audio coverage via internet radio over the weekend itself.

Now the technical bit:  there are various options available to purchase and you can either buy them as a digital version or a physical DVD.  Depending on where your interest lies, you can order a single  game in its entirety or a highlights package of all games from the weekend and there are different pricing options and offers available.

Being a bit old fashioned, I chose the DVD version of the weekend highlights package and I have to say that it really is worth getting.

Last year’s DVD was good and a nice souvenir of the play offs but this year’s version incorporates a number of improvements.  For example, there are 2 separate discs in the DVD highlights package this year – one with the 3 Laidler games on it and one with the 3 Moralee games - and there is a "start menu" so that you can select which game you want to see. Each game has about 45 minutes of highlights and there are post match interviews and coverage of the trophy presentations as well.

To find out more about the different formats, options and packages - and to place your order – go to the official website at

Please note that the various offer prices are only valid for limited periods as stated on the website.  DVDs have to be ordered by the end of May at the latest.










Thursday 11 May 2017

WPL Title Decider at Chelmsford This Sunday

Match action from Chelmsford Cobras' exciting 7-6 home win over
the Widnes Wild women's team earlier in the season. 
(Photo by Perry Tomlinson) 
There is a fascinating game in store at Chelmsford this Sunday lunchtime as the destiny of this season’s Women’s Premier League title will be decided.

It’s the final game of the league campaign for both Chelmsford Cobras and Streatham Storm and by happy coincidence, the top two teams in the division meet in a “winner takes all” encounter.

The Storm are currently top of the WPL table with 18 points from their 11 league games and the Cobras are just one point behind, having led the table for much of the season.

The Cobras beat Streatham 3-4 down in South London back in November but since then have only won two of their last 5 games – drawing away at both Nottingham Vipers and Widnes, who are both in the bottom half of the table – and losing their last game 8-3 away at Slough in what was the first game to be played on the temporary ice surface there.

The Storm have gone unbeaten since the start of the year and only dropped one point – in a 3-3 draw away at Milton Keynes last weekend – since their defeat by Chelmsford.

They played two games in April whereas, due to the vagaries of the league fixtures, the Cobras have not had a competitive game since 4th March so it will be interesting to see how that has a bearing on team performances.

With Streatham having a one point lead at the top of the table, a draw would be enough to hand them the title while Chelmsford obviously need to win the game to be crowned champions.

It would be an amazing turn-around for the Cobras, who finished bottom of the WPL last season, while Streatham finished in 3rd place and reached the play off final.

Streatham has a proud place in the history of women’s hockey and the earlier Streatham Strikers were one of the first properly organised women’s teams in the country with their own ice and facilities back in the early 1980s.  They won the early English Women’s League title in both 1986/86 and 1987/88 seasons.

Chelmsford Cobras take on Streatham Storm this Sunday 14th May at the Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre in Chelmsford in the match that will decide the Women’s Premier League championship. Face off is at 12.20 (midday…) and admission is free…!  


Tuesday 9 May 2017

Summer Cup: Widnes Wildcats 5 - Whitley Bay Islanders 8

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Summer Cup
Widnes Wildcats 5 – Whitley Bay Islanders 8
Period Scores:  1-3, 3-3, 1-2
Penalties In Minutes:  Widnes 37 – Whitley 49

Widnes Scoring:
Lubomir Felber 2+0, Dalibor Rakoczy 1+1,Andrejs Tenbergs & Phil Hamer both 1+0, Jake Berry, Lindsey Perry, Martin Dietrich & Neil Herring all 0+1

Match Report by Paul Breeze (

The Widnes Wildcats suffered defat in their first Summer Cup game of the 2017 competition as they were beaten 5-8 at home by the Whitley Bay Islanders at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The game started well for the Wildcats and they took the lead as early as the 2d minute with a great solo goal by Lubomir Felber.  The visitors soon got into their stride after the long journey from the North East , equalising after 12 minutes and then scoring two further goal later on in the period to take a 1-3 lead into the first break.    

Two more goals early in the second period looked to have the game almost sewn up for the visitors but then things began to get rather lively.  A Whitley player picked up a 2 minute penalty for roughing at 28.51 and within 20 seconds, Andrejs Tenbergs pulled a goal back for the Wildcats on the resulting powerplay. This sparked an incident that saw two Whitley players banished from the game and Tenbergs himself pick up a 2 +match penalty.

In the aftermath of these penalties, the Wildcats scored two more goals – through Phil Hamer on 32 minutes and Dalibor Rakoczy 3 minutes later – to bring the score back to 4-5 but any hopes of a Widnes rally were dashed as the Islanders picked up another goal in the very last second of the period.

A 7th goal for the visitors midway through the third period looked to have settled the game although a second goal of the evening from Felber with some 6 minutes left on the clock did give the Widnes camp some cause for optimism. A Whitley powerplay goal in the very last minute of the game rounded off the action for a final score of 5-8.

The Wildcats are at home in cup action again next Sunday 14th May when they take on the Blackburn Falcons at Silver Blades Widnes.  The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free.