Sunday 31 January 2021

Book Review: The Cardiff Devils by Stuart Latham

 “They say that good things come in threes”.  Yes ! I know I have done that one already but I have since thought of a few decent ice hockey related analogies - so just bear with me…

Like Heineken League era imports, the Hanson Brothers in Slapshot, the Hunter brothers at the Peterborough Pirates and erm, well, perm any three Brittles….  Stuart Latham conjures again with that magic number to come up with another of his fascinating British ice hockey club histories. 

This time – in what is the second instalment in his Ice Hockey In Wales trilogy (– although you might wait quite a long time for the third one…..!),  I am pleased to present to you the third instalment instead of his JOHN LAWLESS TRILOGY!  ie the Cardiff Devils, to fit nicely alongside the Peterborough Pirates and Manchester Storm books that he has produced previously.

Now, EVERYBODY loves the Cardiff Devils – by which I actually mean that some people really do LOVE them -–and most other people love to hate them. But, whatever side of that particular fence you sit on, you can’t argue with the amount of trophies they have won over the years and the number of players they have contributed to this great sport of ours.

I sit firmly atop that fence in this debate as I was very pleased to watch the Devils beat Murrayfield Racers in a highly dramatic sudden death penalty shoot out in the 1990 Wembley Play Off final – back when domestic British ice hockey used to appear LIVE regularly on BBC1’s flagship Grandstand  programme.  I have to admit that my pleasure came mainly from the fact that they had so many former Peterborough Pirates players in their line up - but there you go...

I did, however, also enjoy the odd frisson of schadenfreude when the all conquering Devils managed to lose the Division 2 Promotion Play Off final on their home ice to the little fancied Aviemore Blackhawks one year - which will have dented the ardour of the air-horn wielding faithful for a while – and also the occasion when they got trounced by everyone (else) ’s favourite Welshmen, the Deeside Dragons, to lose the Welsh Cup as well – so that’s a bit of balance for you.

Regular readers of my ice hockey ramblings (should such hardy souls, indeed, exist...) will know that I always like to slip the odd Peterborough connection in if I can manage it and, apart from the obvious player connection – here’s another one for you: the company that built the original Cardiff rink was the same company that had built the Peterborough Rink a few years earlier – Sports Nationwide, as I believe they were called at the time. They also built the Chelmsford rink.  There you go, Stuart, you could do a “Dennis Adams Trilogy” next…! 

But I have digressed far enough – back to the present and the Cardiff Devils book. This is a very impressive tome with a whackingly huge 272 pages. It has season by season write ups and statistics for the Devils from 1986/87 to 2020/21 – although that last one is a bit thin, obviously… and also all time player records. There are memory articles penned by some of the players including Steve Moria, Jason Wood and Richie Hargreaves and photos throughout as well. 

If you are a Cardiff Devils fan – you will probably already have a copy of this – or have one on the way.  If you are interested in ice hockey in general – and British ice hockey in particular - you will certainly find this book of interest and if, like me, you have had your own experiences with the Cardiff Devils in the past, then you’ll probably enjoy reliving those memories once again.

Stuart has produced numerous books about ice hockey and other fascinating topics as well and you can find out more on his sales website HERE


Friday 1 January 2021

Isle Of Wight 25 Year History Book In Preparation

Chris Randall is putting together a new book to celebrate the 25 years (so far…) of ice hockey on the Isle of Wight. 

The book will look in detail at the Isle of Wight / Wightlink Raiders team that played from 1991 until 2016 when their home Ryde Arena was shut down in controversial circumstances by the building owners.

Chris would be keen to hear from former players and officials and from also from anybody who has any photos, programmes or other memorabilia that they would like to have included in the book.  

It will also include year by year statistics and a full player A to Z - plus some bits and pieces about the Tigers second team.

There are various options available for sponsorship / advertising within the book and it is hoped to be able to arrange a special launch event on the Island once Covid restrictions are lifted later in the year.  

Anybody interested is asked to contact Chris at: HERE