{{ 'Go back' | translate}}
Njus logo

British Ice Hockey: Steve Lee departs Nottingham after a decade to return to Guildford | Njus Great Britain

Steve Lee departs Nottingham after a decade to return to Guildford

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Guildford Flames have signed Great Britain defenceman Steve Lee from Elite League rivals Nottingham Panthers. [Read more..]
'Guildford Flames have signed Great Britain defenceman Steve Lee from Elite League rivals Nottingham Panthers. Lee, 28, previously played for the club in the English Premier League back in 2008/09, and has spent the last decade with the Panthers. He said: “I am very excited to be returning to Guildford. It’s a great organisation to be part of, with a great fan-base. I had an amazing time there 10 years ago. “I have nothing but great memories from my first stint with the club and hope to make many more. “The Flames had a great season last year and it’s a great sign to see a large portion of that team already signed up. “Hopefully I can help the team add to the success they earned last season. I can’t wait to meet the guys and get started.” Lee has made just shy of 700 games in his career, winning six Challenge Cups, a league title and four play-off titles. Internationally, he has won 49 caps for GB and was part of the recent World Championship campaign. Flames head coach Paul Dixon said: “It is a pretty big signing for us to be able to get a GB player of his level into our lineup,. “He has obviously come a long way from when he was just getting started here as an 18-year-old, and he has become a very solid defensive guy back there which he demonstrated while playing against the world’s very best players this past Spring. “We know that he was really excited about possibly returning here and we are thrilled to not only get a player of his quality, but also a character guy with personality and leadership attributes that are great additions to our lineup.”'

Premier league

The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. It is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcasted in 212 territories to a potential audience of 4.7 billion people. Forty-nine clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. Six of them have won the title: Manchester United (13), Chelsea (5), Arsenal (3), Manchester City (3), Blackburn Rovers (1), and Leicester City (1).

Evan Mosey out long term through injury

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Cardiff Devils defenceman Evan Mosey is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery after suffering an injury at the World Championships in Bratislava in May. [Read more..]
'Cardiff Devils defenceman Evan Mosey is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery after suffering an injury at the World Championships in Bratislava in May. Mosey was injured in the middle period of Team GB’s last game of the tournament, the historic win over France, but the jubilation was soured with the thought of a few weeks of recovery for Mosey after the tournament. Bad news turned worse after an MRI scan showed that he needed his ACL reconstructed, a surgery that could see him out of action for 6 to 8 months. Devils Coach Andrew Lord said: “This is a big loss for us. Evan is a big part of our team and he was one of the first players signed up for next season. “Our first priority was to ensure that Evan got the surgery as soon as possible.  Team GB and Ice Hockey UK were extremely helpful in making this happen, so we want to thank them for everything they have done to help Evan. “Our partnership with Nuffield Health helped get him in right away and we are lucky to have one of the best surgeons in the UK doing the surgery, a procedure that he has done on a few of the Devils over the years.” Mosey is expected to make a full recovery but in the meantime the injury means another player to recruit for Andrew Lord.'

Steelers set to swoop for highly rated Russian

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Sheffield Steelers are on the verge of a deal to bring Russian winger Nikolai Lemtyugov to the UK, according to British Ice Hockey sources. The 33-year-old has played most of his career in his native [Read more..]
'Sheffield Steelers are on the verge of a deal to bring Russian winger Nikolai Lemtyugov to the UK, according to British Ice Hockey sources. The 33-year-old has played most of his career in his native Russia, but teamed up with new Steelers coach Aaron Fox at Medvescak Zagreb at the start of last season. Financial problems at the EBEL side meant a move just before Christmas to South Korean side Anyang Halla in the Asia League where he saw out the rest of the campaign. But it is understood the six-foot winger, who can play on either flank, could be reunited with his old coach in England sources saying a deal to bring him to the Elite League is close. Steelers boss Aaron Fox was Lemtyugov’s coach at Medvescak Zagreb last season and could be reunited with him (PHOTO: GEPA) Lemtyugov has over 400 games of experience in the KHL, between regular season and play-off games, along with just under 100 games in the AHL, playing with Peoria Rivermen, where Cardiff Devils forward Charles Linglet was a former team-mate. A move to the UK is his preferred option and it’s understood Steelers will have to beat off stiff competition from teams in the KHL, who want to bring him back to Russia. However we understand a deal has been struck allowing the player the option of signing in the KHL for the next couple of weeks if he can secure a contract there. But hopes are high that Sheffield can land a player who could become a key part of their bid to return to challenging for the title again next season. If they are to land their man, it would be Fox’s fifth new signing for his team and Lemtyugov would also reunite with John Armstrong, another former team-mate from his time in Croatia.'

Who are the favourites to win next season’s Elite League?

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

It goes without saying that it’s far too early to start making predictions about who will win the EIHL in 2019/2020. The dust has only just settled on last season, and the clubs are still [Read more..]
'It goes without saying that it’s far too early to start making predictions about who will win the EIHL in 2019/2020. The dust has only just settled on last season, and the clubs are still in a period of assessment and reorganisation. We’re already starting to see new rosters taking shape however, and from the looks of things, some potentially strong line-ups are being pulled together all across the country.   Last season saw the Cardiff Devils and the Belfast Giants reassert their position as the “Big Two” of the EIHL for the second year running. Both have qualified for the Champions’ League this autumn, and their respective performances in the European tournament will be key indicators of their potential as we go into the next season. Any predictions for a league or Challenge Cup winner will almost certainly be based around those two teams.   That’s not to say that their northern rivals in the Erhardt Conference are entirely out of the running. Both the Sheffield Steelers and the Nottingham Panthers have been making significant changes that could well tip their fortunes for the better. Things look less hopeful for the Coventry Blaze however. The loss of Ben Lake to the Giants makes a spectacular comeback even less likely, and although they’ve been importing some respectable Canadian talent (notably 6′ 4″ Justin Hamonic ) the Midland’s veterans are outside chances next season at best.   The Giants   The league champions and Challenge Cup winners are in an enviable position ahead of next season. Not only do they have an excellent existing roster imbued with world-beating confidence, but they’re able to attract the brightest and the best as well. Tyler Beskorowany was named player of the year and net minder of the year after his first season with the Giants, while Darcy Murphy won forward of the year and Adam Keefe was named coach of the year.   Additionally, three of the six players nominated to the First All-Star Team were Giants: Beskorowany, Murphy and Defenceman Josh Roach. A fourth, Ben Lake, has since signed with the team for next season. Ciaran Long, named British player of the year, has also come on board after two seasons with the Manchester Storm, and Patryk Wonka arrives after a very successful season at GKS Katowice.   Indeed, the only cloud on the horizon is the departure of Captain Blair Riley, but otherwise the Giants have retained most of their winning talent. No odds have been announced yet, but keep an eye on the latest sportsbook news as the Giants are sure to start off as firm favourites.   The Devils   The reigning EIHL playoff champions lost the league on the final day, with a 3-1 defeat against arch-rivals Coventry Blaze. They’ll be determined not to see anything similar happen next season, and with Andrew Lord having signed a new five-year deal to stay on as head coach, the Devils could be the ones to cut the Giants down to size. Lord has engineered an impressive comeback for the Welsh wonders, guiding them to two challenge cup victories, two league championships, three conference titles and back-to-back playoff championships.   Josh Batch, one of the toughest players in the League, has re-signed for his ninth season, and Joey Haddad is back for his sixth season. Haddad struggled with injury at the end of last year, but that shouldn’t eclipse his impressive record of 104 goals and 154 assists in 324 games over the last five years, adding up to 258 points as a Devils player. To the surprise and joy of fans, Ben Bowns will also be back in the net, and it seems that Cardiff are following the formula of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to the roster. Ultimately all they need is for luck to be on their side to complete their amazing comeback next season.   The Panthers and the Steelers   Nottingham Panthers have added defenceman Mark Matheson to their coaching team, but have lost defenceman Steve Lee after ten seasons. New coach Tim Wallace is revitalising the team with some young blood, adding top prospects Joe Hazeldine (aged 18) and Jordan Kelsall (aged 19) alongside returning GB Internationals Robert Lachowicz and Brett Perlini.   Over at the Steelers, forward Tanner Eberle returns for a second season, and he’ll be joined by goal machine Brendan Connolly, who scored 31 goals in 58 games with the Glasgow Clan last season. It’s goodbye to defenceman Josh McFadden, but hello to Swedish veteran Jonas Liwing, New coach Aaron Fox also confirmed that Cole Shudra will be playing with the Steelers next season, after being loaned to MK Lightning in 2018.   Unofficially the Giants have to be favourites for 2019/20, with the Devils their only real competition. That said, it really is too soon to say for certain who will walk off the ice the winners. Time, as ever, will tell.'

The Monday After: Best kept secrets

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

We’re in an interesting time of year when fans everywhere are keen to know the make-up of their team for next season so speculation is naturally rife. Visit any fans forum, Twitter or any other [Read more..]
'We’re in an interesting time of year when fans everywhere are keen to know the make-up of their team for next season so speculation is naturally rife. Visit any fans forum, Twitter or any other social media platform and it’s full of people claiming they’d love to have certain players in their team or have heard rumours their team is talking to or have signed a particular player. While doing that, check the same platforms for any professional football club up and down the country and you’ll see the same sort of chat/discussion/dismissal of opinions of sources. Now, let’s take those discussions and put them on a media platform or to a newspaper.   If you look at a newspaper today, or any other day this week, you’ll see a back page exclusive of one of the top football clubs linked with a signing, or the signing has been made and that confirmation is due. In that sport in particular, this is every day practice.   Recently in Scotland, one of the top tabloids revealed that Steve Clarke would take over as Scotland manager days before the SFA made the announcement to confirm the news. There wasn’t an outcry that The Scottish Sun had leaked news or betrayed any confidences in doing this.   Someone at the paper was given the wink by a pal or an acquaintance at the SFA to run the story.   The same thing will happen when Man Utd/Liverpool/Rangers/Celtic are on the verge of making signings.  That’s how it works. Which leaves me scratching my head over people getting all defensive whenever someone lets slip a rumour that’s doing the rounds which proves to be true. In football, news of Steve Clarke’s appointment as Scotland coach was broken days before the Scottish FA formally announced the news (PHOTO: Sky Sports) In this business, people hear things all the time.   Some choose to post on social media. Others keep their powder dry.   We could post half a dozen signing stories right now that we know are in the pipelines, but there’s something  about not putting a story out before the club does that fans seem to hold dear. Why is that?   What’s with the big secret? I completely follow the argument it’s the club’s news and they should put it out, but if people are already talking about it and it’s imminent, where is the harm in having local media, for example, getting the scoop?   It gets people talking, even builds excitement among the fanbase. The club will generally have the interview with the coach, the new player and get the exclusive chat once the ink is on the contract regardless so why is the source of announcement seen as so important? I can’t get my head around why people are so uptight on this issue, given that it is positive news and you’ve got the fans buzzing as the club prepare the metaphorical unveiling, which will lead to loads more hits and views on their various media platforms. Sure, you’ll get the odd red herring.   After all, there’s the running joke this day that there’s still someone at Glasgow Airport waiting for Colt King to arrive to sign for the Clan.   While there’s no action, we should be keeping ice hockey in the headlines with constant signing news and speculation. It was tweeted over the weekend that Stevie Lee is on his way to Guildford.   Clearly someone’s been given the heads up on it, maybe not by Flames, but it’s something that’s got people talking and you would imagine Guildford fans will be quite delighted by this. Stevie Lee’s possible future destination was revealed online without the club’s announcement as yet, but it’s got Guildford fans pleased (PHOTO: Panthers Images) If it comes off, then it hasn’t taken anything away from the news.   The announcement will still be treated with the same level of excitement it should be.   If those putting it out is wrong, they’ll have egg on their face. Maybe it’s time for the clubs to start working with their media, whether local or online and help get more headlines for their teams and generate more discussion. We complain ice hockey doesn’t get enough coverage so with no pucks being hit in these summer months, what a great way to do it by keeping it going until we’re at the point we’re ready to see the players perform again. Trust is a big part of it of course, so if teams and their local scribes have a good relationship, why not let them run a scoop and see the interest generate from there?   I guarantee when the confirmation comes, the traffic will still be high for the organisation. After all, if we all know what’s going on, at least, those of us privileged enough to know anyway, then what’s the harm in helping get some interest and get some love going for your new guy, whoever it may be. We’re dealing in ice hockey signing news after all.  Not state secrets.'

Can Flyers unearth another netminding gem?

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

With the news that Shane Owen has left Fife Flyers to head to Belfast Giants, it leaves Todd Dutiaume and Jeff Hutchins with the task of finding someone equally as good to replace him.  And [Read more..]
'With the news that Shane Owen has left Fife Flyers to head to Belfast Giants, it leaves Todd Dutiaume and Jeff Hutchins with the task of finding someone equally as good to replace him.   And you wouldn’t bet against them unearthing another gem? Since the Flyers joined the Elite League in 2011, every goalie they’ve brought in has proved to be an excellent bit of business and while there are arguments to judge some above others, their track record in bringing in players they can entrust has been nothing but a success. Owen has some big skates to fill in Tyler Beskorowany at Belfast, but his performances for the Flyers gave everything Adam Keefe needed to go out and persuade the 29-year-old a deal in Northern Ireland was what he wanted. Recognising it was a big position to fill, Flyers brought in Garrett Zemlak for their first ever season in the top flight and while the campaign led their only absence from the play-offs as they treaded Elite League water for the first time. A save percentage of .889 in his season in Kirkcaldy made him an impressive figure, not to mention stopping an eye-watering 70 shots from 72 in one game against Nottingham Panthers, Zemlak looked like a goalie destined for big things. A poor stint at Braehead Clan the following year was to come and while he performed well in covering for an injured Stephen Murphy in Belfast, Zemlak’s time in the UK was a short, but memorable one. Garrett Zemlak was Flyers’ first goalie in the Elite League (PHOTO: Fife Flyers) In 2012, Dutiaume and then assistant coach Danny Stewart put their thinking caps on again and came up with Bryan Pitton from Bakersfield Condors, who would be joining the club with his brother, lett winger Jason. Bryan’s stats stood up as well in a season that brought many positives for the club after a testing first campaign, but it was a season that proved to be another rung on the ladder. Pitton moved to Allen Americans where he won the play-offs the following year and a year in Poland with Sanok has been followed by short spells at a variety of clubs in North America. Kevin Regan was next to go between the pipes for Fife and is so far, the only goalie to stay for two consecutive seasons, such was the impact he had on them. Helping them to their first play-off finals weekend, Regan couldn’t quite help them to the same levels, although he performed well again in what turned into his final campaign as a professional player, opting for retirement. Fife were in the market again in 2015 and swooped to land David Brown, who had left Hull Stingrays after the club went out of business. David Brown was outstanding in Fife’s run to the play-off finals in 2016 (PHOTO: Fife Flyers) Brown had ended his time in Hull with a memorable play-off quarter final performance against Braehead Clan and did the same again in what was to be his highlight for the Flyers, as they defeated their rivals in a heart-stopping last eight clash. A .893 percentage in the league was a decent return for him, but one year was all he had in Kirkcaldy before moving on.   The fans, though, would always enjoy that quarter final with the Clan and Brown’s contribution to it. Shane Owen then arrived for the first of his two spells, starting in 2016 when the fans had another man with an impressive beard to worship and his performances were certainly worthy of their support. So good was Owen’s contribution the first time around, it earned him a move to Allsvanskan in Sweden to BIK Karlskoga. His return a year later was warmly welcomed and it was clear to see what he could do and the sort of saves he could pull off hadn’t left him, despite a year that saw him flit between North America and Poland. A three-game weekend saw him stop 148 from an incredible 153 shots which earned him an Elite League Player of the Week award set the tone and Owen was on top form once more for Flyers. Andy Iles hasn’t played since leaving Fife in 2018 (PHOTO: Fife Flyers) Which just leaves 2017/18 and Flyers successfully filled the post with Andy Iles, another who did so well and had a crack at the play-off finals weekend, despite his final weeks limited by injury, but he was one that was popular too. He hasn’t played professionally since leaving Kirkcaldy last year and at this time, it’s unknown what he’s up to, but with Owen on the move again, would he be one Flyers could call back? Stranger things have happened, but it’s an area Flyers have filled well down the years and you would expect Todd and Jeff to get this part of their recruitment right. Whoever they’ve brought in has never let them down and with a variety of good net minders come and gone, it will be interesting to see just who will come in. It’s an interesting puzzle for the Fife management to work on in the coming weeks.'

Signings Update: More moving and shaking in the EIHL

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

The market is continuing to gather pace ahead of the new season with all but one Elite League team involving in some level of movement since we last rounded things up. Prizes for the biggest [Read more..]
'The market is continuing to gather pace ahead of the new season with all but one Elite League team involving in some level of movement since we last rounded things up. Prizes for the biggest surprises can arguably go to Nottingham Panthers as coach Tim Wallace made his first moves since joining the club, swooping to take experienced defenceman Mark Matheson from Sheffield Steelers, where both men played together. Matheson comes in as Wallace’s player-assistant coach after two years with the Steelers and Panthers’ Director of Hockey, Guillaume Doucet told the club’s website his experience stood out. “I think he will be an asset to the club, he has a fair bit of coaching experience already, he knows Tim Wallace well, he knows our league and he knows what we are aiming to achieve next season,” he said.   “He’s excited to be joining us and of course he knows all about our rivalries with other teams.” Going out the other way is long-serving GB defenceman Stevie Lee, who is leaving the Motorpoint Arena after a decade, but as yet, his new destination is unknown. Stevie Lee is leaving Nottingham Panthers after a decade (PHOTO: Panthers Images) According to the Panthers’ website , Lee had been in negotiation about extending his stay, but has taken the decision to take his career elsewhere. One of the biggest signings of the week is the move of Fife Flyers goalie Shane Owen to Belfast Giants, where he’ll replace the outgoing Tyler Beskorowany. The 29-year-old was a popular figure at the Flyers and was an impressive figure for them over his two spells, picking up a .909 save percentage. He spoke to A View from the Bridge, the official Belfast Giants podcast, who announced his move and Owen is keen to make an impression with his new club, with the Champions Hockey League coming up. He said: “I am excited to get started in Belfast and play in the Champions League with the Giants. I spoke to Adam and I’m looking forward to training camp in August that will set us up well for the season. “As long as I put the work in and get prepared to play – I want to go out and give my team a chance to win on every night. Having played against the Giants for a number of years – I am well aware of how great the city of Belfast is and how passionate the fans are.” WELCOME | SHANE OWEN Former GKS Katowice and Fife Flyers joins the @BelfastGiants for the 2019/20 Hear from him on the latest A View From The Bridge Podcast. https://t.co/rlwQPvscLm pic.twitter.com/g6u6pzEGec — A View From The Bridge (@AVFTB) June 13, 2019 Another Fife Flyer leaving for an Elite League rival is Evan Bloodoff, who ends his two-year stay in Kirkcaldy to join up with Danny Stewart at Coventry Blaze. The 28-year-old has been a key offence player for Todd Dutiaume’s men in the last couple of seasons and that productivity is what made Stewart move for the Canadian. He told the Blaze website : “With losing some key guys from last season, it’s vital that we replace production and adding a guy like Evan who has scored over 60 goals the past two seasons does that.   “At times, I felt when games got heavy we had a tough time scoring those dirty goals, so adding a guy like Evan is important and the fact he’s a veteran, will prove important with a younger group.” Going out the exit door at the Skydome is 29-year-old forward Jake Hansen, who is off to Slovakia to play for HKM Zvolen. One other inter-EIHL switch was one that saw Danish forward Lukas Lundvald, who’s been at Dundee Stars for the last season and a half, take up an offer with Ryan Finnerty’s Manchester Storm. In his time with the Tayside outfit, he accumulated 72 points in 83 games and there were certainly things coach Finnerty liked about him. Lukas Lundvald is off to Manchester Storm (PHOTO: Derek Black) He told the Manchester Storm website : “Lukas is a player that we have been able to watch a lot over the last few seasons. I really like his energy and the tenacity he brings to the game. “We had some good conversations about what is expected in Manchester and how I want him to play. I believe he can round-out his game this year and take it up a level. “I am really excited to work with Lukas this coming season and I am sure the Storm fans will love watching him play.” While Lundvald bid his farewells to Dundee, Stars were warmly welcoming latest signing Anthony Beauregard, who arrived from ECHL side Brampton Beast. The 23-year-old notched 29 points from 71 appearances and is already excited to be going to a club where there’s at least one familiar face. He told the Stars website : “I’m really excited as it’s going to be my first year in Europe. (PHOTO: Kyran Thicke and Briana Thicke, Concordia Stingers) “I know some guys there like Shawn (Boutin) and I know some things from what the head coach has told me, I think it is going to be fun. “From the conversations I had with Omar, I just found that it was a perfect fit for me to come to Dundee and I just want to prove to everybody that I can be a good player.” In among all that, three other players committed to their respective clubs for another seasons. TJ Foster has agreed to a second season with Guildford Flames after a good first year that saw them finishing in the top half of the table for a second year and reach both the Challenge Cup final and Play-off finals weekends. Glasgow Clan have tied up Matt Beca on another deal for his third year in four at the Scottish club, where he will also act as assistant coach to Zack Fitzgerald. While Carlo Finucci’s return softened the blow of the Fife Flyers’ fans, reeling from the news of the departures of Messrs Owen and Bloodoff as he agreed to come back for what will be his fourth season at the club.'

NIHL confirm structure and formats for new season

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

The NIHL have released news of their formats for the new season as the National Division was confirmed and ratified. The new ten-team national division will sit above the long-standing Divisions One and Two, which  [Read more..]
'The NIHL have released news of their formats for the new season as the National Division was confirmed and ratified. The new ten-team national division will sit above the long-standing Divisions One and Two, which   will continue to be regionalised into North and South. However, further details of some Cup and Playoff competitions is still to be signed off by some divisions, but the details below are confirmed. NIHL: NATIONAL NIHL National’s ten teams will be split into two conferences for regular season play.  Telford Tigers, MK Lightning, Sheffield Steeldogs, Hull Pirates and Leeds Chiefs make up one conference.    Swindon Wildcats, Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison, Peterborough Phantoms and Raiders make up the other. Teams will play their own conference four home and four away, while they face the other conference twice at home and twice away. Former Whitley Warrior Sam Zajac is the player-coach of new NIHL side Leeds Chiefs (PHOTO: Ice Hockey Media) At the end of the regular season, the top eight teams from the overall standings will qualify for the playoffs.  These will play in two groups of four, one home and one away game, with the groups being 1st-4th-5th-8th and 2nd-3rd-6th-7th.  The top two sides from the groups will qualify for the finals weekend in Coventry. There will also be a National Cup where the first home game for each club against the nine other clubs will count towards the qualifying standings.  The top four sides from this table will qualify for cup semi finals.  The highest placed qualifier will choose their semi final opponent, with the two remaining sides also matching up.  The Cup should have reached at least the semi final stage by the end of the calendar year. The season will likely begin on September 14/15 and it was confirmed the the NIHL National will continue with the same ‘import’ rules as last year.  Teams can dress two ‘imports’ with only one being allowed on the ice at any one time. NIHL: Division 1 – South It is confirmed that there are ten teams in this division for 19/20 – Invicta Dynamos, Streatham IHC, MK Thunder, Cardiff Fire, Slough Jets, Bracknell Hornets, Raiders 2, Solent Devils, Oxford City Stars and Chelmsford Chieftains. The teams will play two home and two away against each other for the regular season, with the top eight sides qualifying for post-season play.  The exact format of the playoffs will be confirmed in due course. A number of teams expressed interest in a cup competition and discussions are ongoing. NIHL: Division 2 – South There are twelve teams in this division.  Guildford Phoenix, Bracknell IHC 3,  Bristol Pitbulls, Peterborough Phantoms 2, Invicta Mustangs, Haringey Huskies, Basingstoke Buffalo, Swindon Wildcats 2, Lee Valley Lions, Streatham Bruins, Solent Devils 2, Cardiff Fire 2.  Cardiff’s second team were accepted pending final agreement for ice time at their home venue. Once Cardiff’s participation is confirmed then the structure for the regular season will be announced along with playoffs. There will be a South 2 Cup this season which will culminate in a Cup Final Weekend. Murrayfield Racers and Dundee Comets will play in the NIHL North Cup next season (PHOTO: Ian Coyle) NIHL: Division 1 – North Seven sides will compete in this division for 19/20 – Solway Sharks, Whitley Warriors, Solihull Barons, Blackburn Hawks, Sutton Sting, Billingham Stars and Nottingham Lions. The league season will be two home and two away against each other, with the top six sides qualifying for postseason play.  This will take the form of two groups of three sides – 1st, 4th, 6th and 2nd, 3rd, 5th – playing one home and one away to decide semi finalists and so on. There will be additional cup competitions to include Murrayfield Racers and Dundee Comets from SNL along with Widnes Wild from NIHL North 2.  The sides will play in two groups of five.  Solway, Whitley, Billingham, Murrayfield and Dundee in one group, with Solihull, Blackburn, Sutton, Nottingham and Widnes in the other.  The number of Cup fixtures is still to be confirmed by the teams involved.  Each group will have its own knockout stages to decide the cup winners. NIHL: Division 2 – North There are nine sides in this division – Widnes Wild, Telford Tigers 2, Hull Jets, Bradford Bulldogs, Sheffield Senators, Coventry Blaze, Deeside Dragons, Altrincham Aces and Blackburn Hawks 2. North 2 clubs will play two home and two away against each other with the top four sides qualifying for the playoffs. NIHL Division 1 and 2 seasons are likely to begin on 7/8 September.  The winners of North 1 and South 1 are likely to play at the Coventry weekend for a national championship game. There is also an appetite to retain the NIHL2 championship game which has played at Coventry for the past two years.  NLMG are investigating options for this fixture.'

Signings Update: Plenty of movement in busy few days

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

The Elite League teams have continued to go about building their teams for the new season, but biggest statement of the last few days came from Wales. Cardiff Devils announced the news their netminder Ben [Read more..]
'The Elite League teams have continued to go about building their teams for the new season, but biggest statement of the last few days came from Wales. Cardiff Devils announced the news their netminder Ben Bowns, who had wowed the planet with his performances in the World Championships for GB, was staying for another season to the delight of the club’s fans. Bowns has been at the club for five years, with winners medals in two league championships, two play-offs and two Challenge Cups and was hotly tipped to move abroad after his impressive displays in Kosice last month. But his decision to stay was huge and head coach Andrew Lord highlighted just how key a figure Bowns is. “Ben is so valuable to this team,” Lord told the Devils website . “What he has achieved here is nothing short of extraordinary and then add to that what he’s done with Team GB. He is our last line of defence and he gives the guys in front of him a lot of confidence. “He played a lot of hockey last season and then added even more games with Team GB at the World Championships where again he played great.  He wants to play every night; he is a competitor and we believe he is the guy that can lead us to more championships. “Importantly, Bownsy isn’t just a great goalie, he is also a great guy who is very popular amongst his teammates and famous for his jokes and pranks in the locker-room. “He is loved by the fan base and just such a crucial part of our success here in Cardiff and I couldn’t be happier that he’s back for another season.” Andrew Lord is also staying put at Cardiff Devils (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins) Lord was celebrating his own news after agreeing to stay in Cardiff on a five-year deal, with opportunities every year to explore prospects in other leagues and a chance to claim an ownership stake if he stays for two years. And Devils managing director Todd Kelman told the website he would have locked him on a longer deal if he could have. He said: “Andrew Lord has been head coach here in Cardiff since our ownership group took over in the summer of 2014 and we have seen a 5-year period of success on and off the ice. “If I could have him working with me for the next 20 years, I would happily do that. He brings passion, detail and motivation every day to the rink and that hasn’t changed since the day he took the job. “We wanted to lock him in long term but also be fair and give an ambitious young coach the window to advance if the right opportunity comes up.” Adding to their ranks are Manchester Storm, who have succeeded in bringing back Mathieu Gagnon to the Elite League after a spell in the Alps Hockey League with HDD Jesenice. The 26-year-old is a former Nottingham Panther and played in the Champions Hockey League two seasons ago when they reached the last 16. And Storm head coach Ryan Finnerty says he brings more than toughness to his roster as he rebuilds his team following a raft of departures. Mathieu Gagnon is back in the Elite League with Manchester Storm (PHOTO: Panthers Images) Finnerty told the Storm website : “Gagz is a player we felt we needed in Manchester. Alongside the toughness side, he brings an impressive amount of experience to our blue line. “I want my players to play heavy and having guys like this on the roster gives us the ability to do that. “I am looking forward to welcoming a player that has been a fan favourite wherever he’s played, and I’m sure this season will be no different for him.” As one former Panther opted for a move to another team, three of their own have committed themselves to Tim Wallace’s team as Joe Hazeldine, Robert Lachowicz and Jordan Kelsall all signed up. Kelsall in particular returns after a season on loan with Dundee Stars where he got plenty of ice time under Omar Pacha, although the club were unable to reach the play-offs. Staying with the Stars, forward Duncan Speirs has signed up in Tayside for the season, becoming Pacha’s ninth capture of the summer so far. The 21-year-old will become the fourth player to ice for at least three Scottish teams in the Elite League after Bobby Chaumont, Bari McKenzie and Travis Fullerton after spells with former Braehead Clan and Edinburgh Capitals in the past. Duncan Speirs has signed for Dundee Stars (PHOTO: Ian Coyle) He arrives after a campaign with Sheffield Steeldogs in the NIHL, where he won the North 1 league title and play-off championships. And the Irvine-born player was attracted by the prospect of getting ice time in the Elite League as he weighed up his decision. He told the Dundee Stars website : “After a few chats with Omar, I know he is going to try and make me a better player and give me as much ice time as he can. “The Elite League has a much faster pace and reactions have to be quicker, so from my previous seasons with Edinburgh and Braehead, I will know what to expect from the league going into it. “I noticed Dundee likes to give more chances to young Brits and help them progress, so I just want put a hard shift every time I am out on the ice and make sure we have a successful season.” Sheffield Steelers confirmed Tanner Eberle would be returning to the club for a second season, but there were departures as Kyle Baun has traded Belfast Giants for Vienna Capitals in Austria. Coventry Blaze also bid farewell to netminder Matt Hackett, who has taken up an offer to play in Norway while captain Kevin Morris has decided to retire from the sport. In a Twitter message, he said: “It’s not easy making the decision, but I’ve always said I wanted to end my playing days on my own terms. “As I will be completing my Masters in Business Administration this summer, I am doing so with a healthy brain, body and spirit.”'

How to Find a Perfect Place to Play

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Most of us lead busy lives, we work hard and we play hard but sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to complete everything we want so anything that lets us make an advised choice is welcome. [Read more..]
'Most of us lead busy lives, we work hard and we play hard but sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to complete everything we want so anything that lets us make an advised choice is welcome. This has led to a rise in comparison sites which gather together all the best deals out there and put them together letting us make a choice from one website instead of having to trawl through many sites ourselves. There are comparison sites for why goods, cars, insurance and just about anything else you can think of, there are even comparison sites for online casinos which list the high-end online sites where you will find exciting mobile slots games that you can play when and wherever you choose. We are all used to the comparison sites for everyday goods and services but some people are still surprised the online casinos compete with each other to be added to the lists of a casino finder website. In fact, since technology has advanced to such an extent more casino players are turning their sights online in order to get their casino action and excitement, and although this is quite understandable as graphics are superb as are the video and audio clips that go with the games to enhance player experience, it has led to a glut of online casinos of varying quality appearing on a near daily basis. This glut of differing quality sites led to the creation of the comparison sites not only for online slots/casinos but for all other goods and services that see a lot of traffic. Using a dedicated team of experienced online casino and slot players all the most important points that add up to make a great casino will be checked and if all of them are there and pass rigorous testing, only then will the online site be added to the ‘A’ list. The online slots/casino site will be checked to see if it holds a legitimate gambling licence – there are many new online gambling sites hitting our pages and not all of these are worth your time. A reputable site will eagerly display its certificate proudly in the most competitive of markets. After checking that the site is covering all the legal requirements and is transparent the team will then check all of the fun parts of the site including games choice, bonus offers, promotional options, banking choices and then customer support. The level of customer support a site offers is very important – having a personal touch is vital in today’s market and if there is not a team available who are friendly and who can help and offer advice then even if the games are good and the bonuses welcoming the site will not make the grade.'

Signings Recap: Five clubs add for EIHL challenge

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Fife Flyers haven’t wasted any time in getting their team with the addition of three players since our last round-up as their beef up their British core. Chad Smith and Jordan Buesa have agreed to returns for another [Read more..]
'Fife Flyers haven’t wasted any time in getting their team with the addition of three players since our last round-up as their beef up their British core. Chad Smith  and  Jordan Buesa  have agreed to returns for another campaign while highly-rated Swindon Wildcats defenceman  Sam Jones  has made the step up from the NIHL to make it five names on the roster for Todd Dutiaume’s side for the new season. Dutiaume spoke to the Flyers website about his pleasure at having two of his young talents in Buesa and Smith commit to another year in Kirkcaldy. “Jordan has the qualities you look for in a young player,” he said. “He works hard on and off the ice, is eager to learn the game and he’s respected by his teammates. “He’s hungry to increase his role in the line-up and knows what he has to do for that to happen. We look forward to working with Jordan again this season. “I’m pleased that Chad has made the decision to stay on with us and to further his development. He’s a great local talent who will be a big asset to the club. The next step is to get him into games with some real time on the ice. I discussed at length with him, during the signing process, that we would provide the support of our strength and conditioning coach and I look forward to seeing him come into camp in top form, ready to go.” Jordan Buesa, along with Chad Smith, have committed in Fife for next season (PHOTO: Jillian McFarlane) For Jones, it’s a step up after a year with Swindon Wildcats, with whom he won the NIHL Division 1 South title and scored the most goals for a defenceman. But his departure has pleased his former coach, Aaron Nell, who was pleased to see him make the move to the Elite League. “I’m delighted for Sam on signing in the Elite League and I remember talking at the start of last season about this being his goal for his first year back in the UK,” he said. “Of course, we would have liked him back in Swindon next season but as a club, we pride ourselves on developing young British players, so it’s great for Sam to be the next one to make that step. “This is the right move for Sam, after Christmas he was certainly best D man and arguably the best player in the league and at his age this is a great opportunity for him. “He made a great impression on all the players and I know they are all happy for him in securing a place at the higher level.” The destination of Brendan Connolly’s next club has been revealed after we reported he had left Glasgow Clan previously and he’ll ice with Sheffield Steelers next season. Brendan Connolly will be wearing Steelers orange next season (PHOTO: Al Goold) The 33-year-old has been among the top scorers in the league in the last two seasons, scoring well with Belfast Giants in his first year before heading to Scotland, where he picked up 75 points in 68 games before injury ended his season prematurely, forcing him to miss both the play-offs and Great Britain’s World Championships. Steelers coach Aaron Fox says what Connolly has brought to his previous teams is why he wanted to snap him up as he looks at restoring Sheffield’s position after a disappointing campaign last year. “Brendan is a guy who has proven that he can really produce at this level” said Fox “The intangibles he brings on a nightly basis is what I love most about his game.  He plays on the edge and is super competitive. “He’s one of those guys that really cares about winning and will do whatever is asked of him to achieve that.  I think playing with that emotion and energy is something this team lacked last year.  He leaves everything on the ice and I think our fans will fall in love with that part of his game. “He can play multiple positions and also had some really good chemistry with Vallerand back in Greenville a few years ago, they were one and two in scoring that season.” Leaving Sheffield is defenceman Josh McFadden, who is heading to Germany to sign for RV Landshut in DEL 2 after his year in the Elite League. While Connolly has opted to leave Glasgow, Jack Musil is staying for another campaign, with his return confirmed by the club on Wednesday. Can’t wait! Going to be a great year #purplearmy https://t.co/pf1iVN7uUn — Jack Musil (@musil_jack) June 5, 2019 And he spoke of his delight that former captain Zack Fitzgerald would be taking on the coaching mantle, replacing Pete Russell. “Fitzy was always a calming person around the rink and everyone kind of looked up to him as an older figure and someone you could rely on,” Musil told the Chat Chat podcast. “Before he was announced, no-one really knew what was going on, but there was a sigh of relief when I heard he was taking over. “You could always talk to him and he’s such a nice guy. He’s a leader on and off the ice and knows the game really well. We all loved him as a captain so I see no reason why he can’t step up and be a great coach for the Clan.” Coventry Blaze have strengthened their blue line with the addition of 25-year-old Justin Hamonic, who arrives from French side Ducs d’Angers, where he iced in 47 regular season and playoff games contributing 10 points. And his signing is one that immediately strengthens the Blaze defensive core, according to head coach Danny Stewart, as he explained on the Coventry Blaze website. “Justin instantly makes us better defensively. He’s a big body, very strong and in tremendous shape,” he said. Hamonic brings size to Blaze blue-line https://t.co/CgPOTAU4LK pic.twitter.com/9IUrW138xU — Coventry Blaze (@covblazehockey) June 4, 2019 “He’s a solid defenceman, but what I like is that he can also skate and move the puck well. Justin’s got a very good hockey IQ and will complement our current guys on the back very well.” Guildford Flames also went about their business by signing former Milton Keynes Lightning forward Owen Griffiths, who is set for a second term in the top flight. The Welshman picked up 20 points in what was troubled campaign at the club, who have since left the Elite League and Flames coach Paul Dixon reckons the issues at Lightning have benefitted his latest capture. “This was a great opportunity for us to get another quality, good skating young British player on our roster,” he told the Flames website. “Milton Keynes as a club last year had a lot of nights when injuries depleted their roster, but Owen benefited from that situation by getting a lot of quality ice time and playing in all kinds of roles and in higher leverage situations. “He really came along, and we think he can help us add some more depth to our forward units to hopefully help us be a better team this season.”'

Wallace: No added pressure at Panthers

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Nottingham Panthers coach Tim Wallace insists there’s no added pressure on him as he gets his teeth into his new job. The former MK Lightning coach was confirmed as replacement for Rick Strachan last week [Read more..]
'Nottingham Panthers coach Tim Wallace insists there’s no added pressure on him as he gets his teeth into his new job. The former MK Lightning coach was confirmed as replacement for Rick Strachan last week as Director of Hockey Guillaume Doucet agreed terms to bring him back to the Elite League. And Wallace said it was an opportunity that was just too good to turn down when the chance came up for a return to the UK. “Coming to the Panthers doesn’t add pressure on,” he said.   “The way I look at it, I’m here to win hockey games and I’ll take it a day at a time.   Today, I’m talking to a bunch of players and I’ll do it again tomorrow. “It comes down to day to day work, being on the same page and being ready to work.   I think there’s pressure certainly, but in order to be a pro hockey player for this long, you have to learn and not take the pressure.   You just have to go with it. “It’s an amazing opportunity and I thought I would just be playing this year so when this opportunity came up, I had to think about it, but I just couldn’t turn it down. Get to know your new Head Coach of The Nottingham Panthers a little better courtesy of this handy infographic #EIHL | #PanthersNation pic.twitter.com/CrfKKJYEgb — The Nottingham Panthers (@PanthersIHC) May 30, 2019 “It’s been a lot of fun working with Guillaume Doucet, who brings a lot to the game and knows it very well.   He has lots of connections too and we’re working hard and I think we have the right mind set to put a great team together.” Wallace also reflected on his time with Lightning in s troubled season that saw them marooned at the bottom of the table amid accusations of alleged non-payments of players. He took the positives from what was an undoubtedly challenging situation and paid tribute to the players he worked with. He added: “Every one of them in that room in MK have a lot of character and hopefully, this past year, they gained a lot and made them stronger for it.   It was a great learning experience and I’m definitely ready to go again. “It was tricky to motivate the players at times with what was going on and it was hard to get guys to feel like it’s a professional situation when things like that are going on in the background. “I think, personally, I did a good job, but the guys deserve the most credit.   Once the puck dropped, they got to work and did everything they could to win hockey games.   “It was definitely a battle with the numbers we had and I definitely think we’re stronger for the experience.”'

Pacha deep in the market signing game

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Dundee Stars coach Omar Pacha says it’s a ‘game of cat and mouse’ as he looks for the signings to bolster his team for the new campaign. The Gardiner Conference side have made the play-offs [Read more..]
'Dundee Stars coach Omar Pacha says it’s a ‘game of cat and mouse’ as he looks for the signings to bolster his team for the new campaign. The Gardiner Conference side have made the play-offs their priority having never qualified since reaching the finals weekend in 2017. And Pacha, who is also the Stars’ general manager, revealed they are still in talks with players who were part of the team last season with a view to returning. “It can be a bit of cat and mouse at this time of year,” he told the Dundee Stars website . “Similar to every season, we are definitely looking to upgrade in specific areas and have already done so. “We are still in discussions with a few players from last season and we are not closing any doors on that front. It’s a two-way street at this time of year as some players want to aim for higher leagues and whilst that can be frustrating at times, we have to respect their wishes. Justin Maylan has checked in for Dundee Stars (PHOTO: Villacher) “On the flip side, we have some players that are desperate to return for next season, but I want to scour the market to ensure that I capture the best possible signature for the Stars. “The recruitment has been going really well so far. I’m happy with where we are as an organisation and the players we have signed back from last year’s team were a key priority of mine. I’m genuinely delighted to have secured those signatures for another EIHL campaign. The players are not only great players for the club, but are also great people and ambassadors for the organisation.” Pacha also revealed the club have broken their season ticket record for a second consecutive and believes they are punching above their weight commercially. And he is hopeful Great Britain’s relative success in the recent World Championships can act as a boost to their exposure as they look to continue to grow even more. Pacha is hopeful GB’s recent World Championship showing can help in boosting the sport’s popularity in Dundee (PHOTO: Dean Woolley) He added: “As a franchise that is growing at a very strong pace, we recognise that we need to be pushing this club 365 days in a year and that’s what we’ve been doing. “Even though it has been known within the organisation for the past week, we have beaten the season ticket record we established last season. I wanted to publicly thank everyone for their invaluable support. “It’s another great accomplishment for the club and shows that we are all pushing in a positive direction. This is extremely vital and is the main reason we are able grow on and off the ice as a team. “In the last two years, we’ve pushed really hard on the commercial front. Although we’e nowhere near where we want to be, we recognise that we have made big strides. “We probably punch above our weight on the commercial front, if truth be told. But we don’t settle for “good” here at the Stars. We want to be in the “excellent” bracket, so it’s up to us to catch up to some of the other teams in the league. “Hopefully the exposure of Great Britain in the recent World Championships will help further exposure of our great sport, specifically in Dundee.”'

CHL schedule confirmed for Giants and Devils

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils will both begin their 2019/20 Champions Hockey League ties at home after the fixture schedule was announced on Monday. The Giants, who won the Elite League championship last season, open [Read more..]
'Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils will both begin their 2019/20 Champions Hockey League ties at home after the fixture schedule was announced on Monday. The Giants, who won the Elite League championship last season, open against Czech Republic side Bili Tygri Liberec on Thursday 29 August before hosting Germans Augsburger Panther two days later before visiting those two respective rinks a week later. They’ll finish with a double header against SHL side Lulea Hockey in October, playing them at the SSE Arena before going to Sweden for the reverse fixture. Cardiff Devils are heading for their third straight campaign at Europe’s top table and will take on Mountfield, also from the Czech Republic on Friday 30 August then Austrian side Graz 99ers on 1st September. Visits to those two locations will follow before finishing with two dates, the first at home against CHL champions Frölunda Indians before heading there to complete their schedule.'

Signing News: More arrivals confirmed but big moves elsewhere

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

The moves keep on coming in the Elite League as Manchester Storm, Dundee Stars and Glasgow Clan all added to their rosters, but Belfast Giants and Clan are seeing former heroes head for pastures new. [Read more..]
'The moves keep on coming in the Elite League as Manchester Storm, Dundee Stars and Glasgow Clan all added to their rosters, but Belfast Giants and Clan are seeing former heroes head for pastures new. On Friday, Manchester Storm announced the signing of Scott Simmonds, who joins from the University of Guelph Gryphons and is set for his first campaign in pro hockey after five years in the USports League. The 25-year-old centreman is reunited with Guelph team-mate Cody Thompson, who had already committed to the Storm for the new season. Leaving the Shelter though is Linden Springer, who was announced as Zack Fitzgerald’s first signing for Glasgow Clan since taking over from Pete Russell. Springer spent two years at the club and iced over 100 times for Ryan Finnerty’s side, making him a favourite with the fans during his time there. Speaking to The Herald, Springer admits he has some work to do to win over the Clan fans after getting jeered by them in the past. Linden Springer has swapped Manchester Storm for Glasgow Clan (PHOTO: Mark Ferriss) He said:  “It’s not an easy place to play in and the passion of the fans is something I took from my experiences there in the past. I think I’ve upset a few people over the last couple of years, but I leave it all out there. “The fans will see that in time plus I like to think I’m a genuine guy so I hope they’ll buy into it early on.  But I do know that my style of play can be something of a love or hate thing if you’re a fan.” Staying with the Clan briefly, they have announced their high scoring forward Brendan Connolly won’t be returning for a second year with the Gardiner Conference winners. As yet, his destination is not known, but coach Zack Fitzgerald admits there was a deal made to him, he’s disappointed to lose him. He told the Clan website : “We had offered him a new contract, however he has informed us today that he has decided to pursue a new opportunity away from the Clan. “While it’s very disappointing news to digest right now, I wanted to let the Purple Army know prior to his new team announcing his signing. Justin Maylan has checked in for Dundee Stars (PHOTO: Villacher) Meanwhile, Dundee Stars have added another new face to their team with the signing of Justin Maylan, who joins from EBEL side Villacher. The 28-year-old is the second new arrival for Omar Pacha’s side and has played alongside former Stars pair Dan Bakala and Jerry Pollastrone. Pacha revealed his new guy was the subject of interest from elsewhere, but was pleased to land his man, as he told the Dundee Stars website: “Justin was on my radar and we made him an offer and fortunately for us, there were a few teams after him but he decided to come to Dundee. “All the references I got said he was very skilled, he sees the ice really well and he’s a good playmaker. He’s a guy that puts up numbers and he is shifty too, he’s got great vision and he has a good shot.” Fife Flyers also added with the recapture of talented youngster Jordan Buesa, who has signed on for a second year in Kirkcaldy. Buesa joins Bari McKenzie and Chase Schaber on the roster and knows he has to work harder in the new season. He told the Fife Flyers website : “I’m really excited to play for the Flyers again next season. I’ll be training hard throughout the summer to ensure I’m fit and healthy for the season ahead. “I’ll give my all for the fans and coaches and I know what is expected of me, so it’s just about making sure I deliver.” Tyler Beskorowany has moved to Slovakian champions Banska Bystrica (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins) Leaving the Elite League are Belfast Giants pair Tyler Beskorowany and Darcy Murphy, who had their destinations confirmed after news of their imminent departure broke last week. Beskorowany leaves the UK after a year and a half to head to Slovakia, joining Banska Bystrica, who won the play-offs and were headed by former Dundee Stars coach Dan Ceman, although it’s not known if he will be there next year. While Darcy Murphy is off to Germany to sign for Corey Neilson’s Lausitzer Füchse, a move confirmed by the DEL2 side on their website on Monday. Speaking to the website, the former Nottingham Panthers coach said: “Darcy is a top scorer who likes to hit. He’s persistent and a hard worker, scoring more than 50 goals last season and reaching more than 100 points in a championship with 14 import players and a very good league. “His commitment was my main goal and I am very happy that we have agreed. Special thanks go to Steve Saviano, who is a former teammate of Darcy as he was instrumental in encouraging Darcy to choose White Water.”'

Long: Davies crocked me but I’ll let him off

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Belfast Giants forward Ciaran Long revealed GB hero Ben Davies was the player that injured him, forcing him out of the World Championships, but he’s happy to let him off. Long was heartbroken to miss [Read more..]
'Belfast Giants forward Ciaran Long revealed GB hero Ben Davies was the player that injured him, forcing him out of the World Championships, but he’s happy to let him off. Long was heartbroken to miss the trip to Slovakia with Pete Russell’s team, but his support, despite his disappointment, never wavered. And he spoke of where he was when Davies scored that incredible winner in overtime against France to keep them in the top group. “That last game against France was insane and I’d never celebrated like that in all my life when Ben Davies scored that goal in overtime,” he said. “Missing out on the World Championships was hard to take and I was absolutely gutted I didn’t get the chance to go, after being involved in the warm-ups and practice. WATCH: The moment Ciaran Long forgave Ben Davies “Even if I had been fully fit and didn’t make the team, I would have still supported them and the boys did a great job out there. “I had been working on the day of the France game and I was driving home, trying to get back quickly so I could watch it on the television.  I had to listen to the first two periods on the radio and hoped to get home in time for the third, but I got caught in rush hour traffic. “As it happened, I ended up hearing the whole game in the car and Ben scored just as I got home and parked the car outside the house.  I didn’t even lock the car and sprinted into the house in celebration, dying to see the replay. “It was absolutely incredible and a great finish by Ben.  Funnily enough, it was him who caused my injury.  He was the one who hit me with the puck in practice so he doesn’t owe me any more.” Now the 28-year-old is gearing up for the new campaign with a new club, after leaving Manchester Storm to go to EIHL champions Belfast Giants. Well, it’s “OFFICIALLY” out there now Excited to start this new chapter in this incredible City! Looking forward to meeting all you @BelfastGiants fans. #IrishBlood — Ciaran Long (@Ciaran_Long_89) May 8, 2019 He says it was a natural step for him as he rubs his hands at the prospect of playing In the Champions Hockey League and is hoping to make himself as popular as one of their legendary players. Long added: “It’s the right move for me at this stage in my career and I suppose it suits Giants too with Colin Shields retiring. “I’m not going to say I’ll do what he did, because that’s crazy, but he’s a great role model to put myself against.  Sheds was very popular too, so if I can emulate that at least, I’ll be happy with that. “The Champions Hockey League is something I’m super excited for as well.  I’ve yet to experience any of that of course, but after missing out with GB this year, this is the next best thing and I hope I can have a successful tournament. “I didn’t see the draw at the time, but caught up with it later on and while I don’t know much about the teams we’ll be playing, it will be a great experience for me and for everyone in the organisation.”'

Signing news: Seven up in Belfast, while Fife and Cardiff strengthen too

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Elite League sides have been busy with nine players arriving for three clubs in the past couple of days. The busiest of the trio were champions Belfast Giants, who confirmed seven players in total, with [Read more..]
'Elite League sides have been busy with nine players arriving for three clubs in the past couple of days. The busiest of the trio were champions Belfast Giants, who confirmed seven players in total , with six of them all returning for another year following their league and Challenge Cup success. Curtis Leonard, Lewis Hook, Paul Swindlehurst, Mark Garside are joined by netminders Stephen Murphy and Andrew Dickson as they were announced at a fans’ event at the SSE Arena. The brand new addition to the team is Ben Lake, who joins the club from Coventry Blaze where he picked up 82 points in 68 appearances last year. Lake, who played for Great Britain at the World Championships is the third new face for Adam Keefe’s side, joining Patryk Wronka and Ciaran Long, who were announced a few weeks ago. Stephen Murphy has signed up for his 11th season at the Giants (PHOTO: Tony Sargent) On his departure from the Blaze, Lake said in a statement on the Coventry Blaze website : “To all the Blaze fans, staff and most importantly my teammates, I just want to thank you all for making my two years in Coventry such a memorable experience. The decision to move on was not an easy one for me as the organisation gave me a platform to perform at the highest level of my career. The Blaze is built around good people and every one of you made me feel welcome from day one. “I look forward to returning to the Skydome to see everyone and wish you all the best of luck.” Keefe also announced at the fan event that netminder Tyler Beskorowany and top scorer Darcy Murphy have both decided to move on to pastures new. Chase Schaber is back in Fife for a fourth season (PHOTO: Jillian McFarlane) In Scotland, Fife Flyers added the second player to their team for the new season as Chase Schaber was confirmed as returning for the Kirkcaldy side. It will be the fourth season for the 28-year-old, who is a firm favourite with the fans and joins Bari McKenzie on the roster. And his re-signing was a top priority for coach Todd Dutiaume after the contribution he has made during his spell there. “Chase has been an impact player for this hockey club,” he told the Flyers website .   “He’s getting him back to 100% and re-signing him was a top priority for the coaching staff. “I’m delighted to be working with him for another season. He’s well on the road to recovery and he’s excited to get back to work and back on the ice.” Schaber added: “I’m very fortunate and grateful to be signing in Fife for another season. “I’m excited for the season ahead and will work hard to help this team and organisation achieve their goals.” Cardiff coach Andrew Lord said it was a ‘no brainer’ to bring back Joey Haddad (PHOTO: Helen Brabon) Cardiff Devils also announced the return of Joey Haddad for what will be his sixth season at the club to make him the fifth confirmed name for Andrew Lord’s side next season. The highly-decorated forward has won two Elite League titles, two play-off crowns and two Challenge Cups and is back to help spearhead their Champions Hockey League campaign next season. And Lord said bringing him back was an easy decision, revealing the Welsh city has become more than just a place to play for him. “Bringing back Joey is a no-brainer for us,” Lord told the Cardiff Devils website . “Despite his struggles with injury last season, he still put up the points when he was fit and he brings so much to the team.   “He is a great teammate and having been here for as long as he has, he understands the values and ethos of this club better than most. “Cardiff is his home away from home now and I know how much this city and club means to him.   “He is doing all the right things to come back stronger next season and I’m thrilled to have him back. He scores big goals and has become a real leader – on and off the ice.”'

Being coach won’t change me says Fitzy

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Glasgow Clan’s new coach Zack Fitzgerald says being the boss won’t change him after he was confirmed to replace Pete Russell. The 33-year-old is back at the club for a second straight season, but he’s [Read more..]
'Glasgow Clan’s new coach Zack Fitzgerald says being the boss won’t change him after he was confirmed to replace Pete Russell. The 33-year-old is back at the club for a second straight season, but he’s swapped the ‘C’ on the jersey for a suit as he prepares for a new role. And in doing so, he’s confirmed his retirement from playing, but hasn’t ruled out an encore on-ice appearance or two if circumstances dictate it. “It’s a new job and a new title so that means I’ve effectively retired and I’m fully focussed on coaching from now on, as well as recruiting and management of the team and I have the full autonomy from Gareth (Chalmers, Clan’s Chief Operating Officer) to proceed,” he said. “If we do run into injury problems, I’ll always be available to come in and help out.   We’ll see how that goes, but I’ll keep in shape certainly.   Fitzgerald is swapping the skates for a suit as he replaces Pete Russell (PHOTO: Al Goold) “But for now, we’re concentrating on the management side in bringing in the players and hopefully providing an entertaining product on the ice for the fans. “I’m not going to change me as a person because I’m now the coach.   Around the rink, it’ll be a little different as I’ll be wearing a suit instead of the jersey, but the guys we have already have been very positive towards me coming in, which makes me excited and gives me more belief in what I want to bring. “I’ll always connect with the fans and that’s something I’ve always done.   To me, they’re very important to the whole thing and we’re all here because of the people that support the game and for me, it’s about making sure everyone enjoys themselves. “I’ll always be as personable as I can with everyone and I don’t think anyone should expect anything differently from me.   We can’t wait to get back and I’ll be the same Fitzy.” Fitzgerald returned to Glasgow last year after three years at Sheffield Steelers, with whom he won the Elite League title and play-offs, after initially arriving in the UK to play for the Clan in 2014. Fitzgerald is a league and play-off winner from his time at Sheffield Steelers as a player (PHOTO: Dean Woolley) He takes over from Russell, who left to go to German DEL2 side EHC Freiburg and will resume the building of the team, where he says fans won’t have to wait long for further news of additions to his roster. He added: “As for the signings, I’m really happy with the guys who have already signed up for next year and they would have been the first ones I would have looked at if I had been here straight away.   From that point of view, it’s a good start and we’re building a good core of guys. “We’ve got some (more) guys signed and we have contracts out there so I’ll leave that to the organisation to release the information, but I think people are going to be happy with the names they’ll hear. “I’m excited and it’s been a whole new world for me talking contracts and offers with players and the news will roll on soon.   We’ve got plenty of time to work with so people shouldn’t hold their breath about new arrivals coming. “I’m really pumped to be coming back to the Clan and have the confidence of the organisation to be able to take this opportunity. “'

Doucet: Wallace brings a lot to Panthers table

Ice hockey British Ice Hockey

Nottingham Panthers Director of Hockey Guillaume Doucet says Tim Wallace’s appointment as head coach ticks a lot of boxes for him. The former Milton Keynes Lightning coach is taking over from Rick Strachan as Panthers [Read more..]
'Nottingham Panthers Director of Hockey Guillaume Doucet says Tim Wallace’s appointment as head coach ticks a lot of boxes for him. The former Milton Keynes Lightning coach is taking over from Rick Strachan as Panthers get their preparations for the new season going. And the ex-Sheffield Steeler was a name that stood out, according to Doucet as he spoke of his delight at landing his man. “I’m very happy with the appointment of Tim Wallace and we looked long and hard and I believe we’ve found the best candidate that was available to us,” he told Panthers Radio. Guillaume Doucet has made his first appointment as Director of Hockey at Nottingham Panthers (PHOTO: Al Goold) “He brings a lot of things to the table, such as experience of the league which was important to us where we’re trying to build something that’s stable and sustainable for the future and his knowledge of the league helps that. “His playing experience will be helpful in dealing with the league too and that was important for me.   He did well as a player-coach with Milton Keynes as well and all the things I heard about him as a coach and as a person were very positive. I’m pleased to get our man.” Wallace arrives following a troubled season with Milton Keynes Lightning, where he was dropped into the role with Ryan Lannon initially after the sacking of Doug McKay. Although the club finished bottom of the league, Wallace saw the campaign through and his staying power was another thing that impressed Doucet as he sought to fill the vacant post. Tim is an incredible guy on and off the ice. We will miss him and we wish him all the best for his new role. Panthers, you're lucky to have him. Super Timmy Wallace. See you soon . #supertim #mkl #bringonthelightning #nottinghampanthers (Photo Em Rabb) pic.twitter.com/3GqaTX9POP — MKLightningIHC (@MKLightningIHC) May 30, 2019 He added: “Tim’s loyalty to Milton Keynes despite the season they were having was also something I noticed and that’s a quality you want as a head coach, someone who will stick with it all the way regardless of good or bad times. “Credit to him and his players that they battled hard and it showed the kind of character he is and the culture he’ll bring to Nottingham. “His knowledge and contacts also made him so attractive and he’s pro-active in recruiting and the more help we can get in identifying the right player, he’ll help us through that. “The coaching role affects a lot of things and not just what goes on on the bench.   There are things on a day to day basis and the off season to have to deal with and he ticks a lot of boxes.”'