LONDON, UK – An All-Star returns, a Scot gets homesick and London Fashion week is certainly not missing a model. NIHL South packed enough punch this week to help everyone forget the fireworks.
Cardiff NIHL Devils received a welcome boost as former ENL All-Star forward Jamie Hayes made a return to the fold after some brief time away from the game.
Hayes was a consistent performer at this level a couple of years ago and exactly what Mark Cuddihy’s side need to push on further up the table.
Invicta Dynamos lost another player during the week as Scottish defenseman Adam McNicoll decided to return home after less than two months with the club.
“I am gutted to be losing Adam from our roster and, as a club, we have tried all possible avenues to keep him with us but ultimately they have been unsuccessful” said Coach Kevin Parrish in the official club press release.
“Despite this I’d personally like to thank him for his efforts whilst with us, wish him all the best for the future and remind him that the door at the Dynamos is never closed”
Invicta are already short for the next few weeks as forward Andy Smith enjoys his pre-arranged honeymoon and Coach Parrish has already hinted that he may be drafting in a new face shortly.
In South London, Streatham Redskins contemplated the last ever game at Brixton ice rink before their move back to SW16 on the 18th November.
“There have been some great wins, I have scored some nice goals and there have been many laughs in the changing room” said Captain Joe Johnston when asked of his Brixton highlight.
“But my favourite memory would have to be the day after I landed back from my year of travelling. It was summer and I drove through Brixton with no idea where the rink was. I found it and paid to go in and skate”
“I was about half the size I am now and about 17 skin shades darker. I also hadn’t been on the ice for over a year”
“So once I’d got over the £8 entrance fee (I was still well and truly on Indian prices) I went skating. It was amazing. A joy to be back on the ice and in my home that I’d never seen before”
“It was a surreal moment. I still hadn’t decided whether I’d play hockey again at that point, but that whole experience made up my mind pretty quickly. Thanks for everything Brixton, you will not be forgotten”
Surreal is a good word to describe the scene the Redskins players bore witness to at the weekend as Johnston stunned his team mates by pottering around the locker room in Chelmsford in what can be accurately described as a stained Hilton dressing gown.
This is from a man who has been pulled over by police in South London on the way to training wearing only his Crystal Palace Official Bath robe, so he certainly has form.
Alongside the ever popular bruise of the week, we are now going to trial robe of the week, so if anyone spots an NIHL hockey player or fan wearing a bath robe or dressing gown in an ice rink send your pictures to the usual address. The only rule is that you must be wearing no other clothes underneath (proof not needed).
Talking of bruises, this week’s effort comes from Oxford City Stars Player Coach Darren Elliott who appears to have been rather unlucky during the weekend action judging by his legs.
Cardiff goalie Mike Brabon is a long time character in the NIHL and he spoke with the Freezing the Puck website to explain his feelings on starting the season with an injury.
“Yeah it’s been pretty frustrating as I’ve been lucky most of my career but I’ve started skating again and backed up in the last two games so hopefully I’ll get my chance again soon” said Brabon.
“Luke Takel is playing great at the moment and deserves to be getting a run of games at the moment and I’m happy to see he is getting a chance to show how good of a goalie he is”
“It can be hard but I like to keep involved with the boys and stay around the dressing room so I’ve been trying to contribute in different ways in practice and on game days. It’s been good to see the coaching staff perspective of things and how the games unfolds as well as it is a completely different world to just focusing on playing”
Not every player will become a coach but some have tried their hand this year in the inaugural NIHL All-Stars Fantasy Football Premier League.
The competition does involve an element of luck alongside football knowledge which may explain why former Streatham Redskins forward Russ Stevens sits at the top of the league, however for anyone that is remotely interested, Stevens is followed by Chelmsford pair Alex Staples and Matt Turner in second and third position respectively.
Bottom of the twenty team league is Chieftains defenseman Alex Green who is probably best staying away from football and concentrating on his job on the blue line by the looks of things.
The last game at Brixton did not disappoint as the Streatham Redskins and Invicta Dynamos played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in the Cup.
At times the game was end to end, but despite a strong effort Streatham could not hold on for a shock win as Invicta equalised in the last two minutes through Callum Fowler.
Invicta’s other goals came from Dan Fudger and Nicky Lewis. For Streatham Joe Allen grabbed a brace and Michal Oravec got the other.
Mo’s import Juraj Huska got an early shower in the first period after a clumsy high stick but other than that it was a good effort from both teams who did their best to entertain the noisy fans behind the glass.
In Bracknell, the Hornets made light work of a strangely subdued Solent & Gosport Devils with a 7-1 win. After a solid showing a couple of weeks ago in Invicta, Solent would have been expecting to put up a better show however a hat trick from Ryan Webb and two goals from Ryan Handisides did the damage for Bracknell with Peter Jasik and Tom Fisher also on target.
Cardiff NIHL Devils pulled off the surprise win of the evening as they beat the Wightlink Raiders 6-4 with another memorable win in the Big Blue Tent.
The hero was Adam Wood with a hat trick and the returning Jamie Hayes grabbed a goal and three assists to mark his return to the league. Youngster Owen Griffiths got two goals and the afore- mentioned Brabon finally got his start between the pipes.
Damon Larter, Craig Tribe, Alex Barker and Matthew VIzzari were all on target for Wightlink who will have been hurt by this loss on the road.
The final game of the evening saw Chelmsford Chieftains destroy MK Thunder 14-2 at the Riverside.
Daniel Volrab and Ross Brears both got a hat trick and there were two goals each for Grant Bartlett, Darren Brown and Gary Clarke. The main talking point however was a first Chieftains goal for teenager Bailey Chittock and the lesser headline grabbing effort from Julian Smith.
Ryan Coffey continued his mini scoring spree for the Thunder with another two goals to his name.
Invicta Dynamos made light work of Bracknell Hornets in the only league game of the night as they delighted the home crowd with an 8-2 win.
Teenager Jake Luton stepped up from the NIHL2 Mustangs side for this game alongside someone who is far removed from his teenage years (in body maybe not mind) Grant Baxter.
Luton opened his account with a goal in the first period and there was also a hat trick from Captain Anthony Leone to note. Mo’s other goals came from Arran Strawson, Juraj Huska, Nicky Lewis and Danny Hammond.
For Bracknell Danny Hughes scored both goals.
The Riverside played host to a niggly cup game as Streatham Redskins travelled up to Chelmsford hoping to give the Essex side a decent game for a change on the road.
Without first line centreman Callum Best the Londoners took an early lead through Steven Fisher, but Chelmsford went up through the gears to take a well-deserved 6-2 win.
James Ayling and Daniel Volrab both scored two goals each for Chelmsford with Cameron Bartlett and Alex Staples also on target. Dom Hopkins got Streatham’s other goal in a game that saw Stewart Tait retire through injury midway through and both sides getting chippy at times.
Saturday 9th November 2013
Streatham Redskins 3-3 Invicta Dynamos (Cup)
Cardiff NIHL Devils 6-4 Wightlink Raiders
Chelmsford Chieftains 14-2 MK Thunder
Bracknell Hornets 7-1 Solent & Gosport Devils
Sunday 10th November 2013
Invicta Dynamos 8-2 Bracknell Hornets
Chelmsford Chieftains 6-2 Streatham Redskins (Cup)
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To read more about Streatham’s time in Brixton ice rink visit the link HERE
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