#kiltyoga is good for your health

What started as a bit of fun and as a video for the BBC Social in Scotland has made these men, internet sensations and rightly so.

The video, featuring both men in nothing but their kilts, socks and boots, originally posted 5 days ago, was something both men were told not to get too hopeful over. As I type it’s been viewed more than 44 million times and has thrust them into the media spotlight.

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Behind the Mask #5 | Mike Clemente: Manchester Storm

Mike Clemente has played goalie for 20 years, from playing in North America in the AHL, college hockey at Brown University to playing in Denmark and now in the UK’s Elite League, he has many stories to tell about his time playing the game we all know and love.

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Behind the Mask #4 | Miika Wiikman: Nottingham Panthers

Title image credit: Panthers Images

Miika Wiikman is in his second season with the GMB Nottingham Panthers and is arguably one of the best net-minders in the Elite Ice Hockey League. This season he has won silverware for the club along with the rest of the team and secured the Continental Cup for the Panthers, making them one of the first British clubs to ever do so as well as qualifying for the Champions Hockey League for next season. Though as always, this interview seeks to take you Behind the Mask and into the mind somewhat of the man who wears it.

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Add a Little Hockey to your Instagram Feed with 8 of my Favourite Hockey Accounts

These are some of my favourite hockey accounts to follow on Instagram, but which accounts would you suggest I follow? Which players are your favourites? Which team posts the best content on Instagram? Let me know!

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Them Over There | Getting to know the Sheffield Steelers Zack Fitzgerald (#OnFire Repost)

Zack Fitzgerald, or Fitzy as he’s so often reffered to as, is a player who divides opinion. Some fans love him (particularly those in Orange!) and some cannot stand him. To look at his stats he doesn’t look like much. Two goals this season so far and not quite as penalty minutes as his fellow Steeler Guillaume Desbiens, some might argue that he’s simply there to rile up the opposition and cause them to make mistakes.

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Let’s talk about Zebras

I don’t know about you but I’ve been a fan of hockey now for a few years. I started watching because a friend introduced me to it after I’d been watching NHL for a little while and I was looking for something closer to home to watch. It’s always been pretty casual up until recently, but more and more as I’m learning the rules and learning to watch for those infractions it’s becoming clear that there are a few problems… I wonder – do other people see them too?

1. Rules – What rules do the EIHL actually play using?

I’d love to be able to actually look through them – to learn them but I can’t actually find them. I’ve scoured for a while to try and find a definitive list but it appears not to exist. You go to the Elite League’s official website and try search for rules and it brings up a whole lot about the Department Of Player Safety (DOPS) but no actual rules. This I find deeply frustrating. How can the officiating staff all sing the same song if no one has a copy of the lyrics??

2. Consistency throughout British Ice Hockey – not just the Elite League, but across the board.

Players move through the ranks quite often, moving from the Steeldogs to the Steelers, the NIHL Blaze to the EIHL Blaze or from various other lower league teams to their EIHL counterparts. Should these players be expected to learn two different sets of rules – or at least the rules that are different between the two leagues. What happens if a player causes a penalty by doing something that would have been allowed under their previous team just because they weren’t aware of the differences?

Talk recently has been about cleaning up mainly the Elite League in the UK, but what about the rest. Personally I think that rules need to be the same across all of the adult leagues in the country. The minute you are playing for an adult team, you follow the same set of rules, regardless of the league. Isn’t that just straight-up common sense?

3. Accountability – Should the league be holding  referees accountable for poor decision making?

Now this one, this is quite tricky really due to the above mentioned lack of an actual rule book and the fact that I’ve come to believe the refs are volunteers? Not actually employees of the league. [please correct me if I’m wrong about that] In refereeing there is also the element of human error, no person is a robot. No one will catch every single infraction that happens in the fast paced game. However, of a referee makes a decision that the league or teams believe to be unfair or unjust, they should be called out on it and dealt with accordingly. After all DOPS is there to check on the calls that teams feel are unfair or incorrect but it is the player who is punished after the fact, rather than the referee who gave the wrong call at the time.

I know this one is a bit of a long shot though because as volunteers they don’t really have the same kind of code of conduct or rules as someone who would actually be employed. They give up their time to do this but it does not excuse the, at times, sloppy calls of the referees. Referees need to be held to a higher standard, they can’t be seen to be more biased towards one team or another. How can it be right for a referee to travel on a team bus for example to save money on travel and then not have their possible bias called into question by the other team? Who’s to know what goes on behind closed doors when everyone’s back is turned? To me, it just does not seem right.

Officiating staff need to be above reproach, so that accusations like that cannot be thrown at them because there is simply no evidence to suggest they are anything but unbiased and impartial.
4. The ban on being able to say anything against referees 

This one? This one really grinds my gears. Why can’t coaches and players be able to air their grievances against referees without the risk of a fine? Because it’s unprofessional?

If there is evidence to back up their claims why not let them air it? Let coaches grumble, perhaps there’s a reason for their complaints that needs to be dealt with rather than having them swept under the carpet and the speaker be fined for saying what’s on their mind. That is not good business. Don’t turn a blind eye to bad calls and expect no one to notice. Fines to those who speak out is simply not the answer. Sure it lines the pockets of the league top bosses, but it doesn’t solve the problem of dubious refereeing.

Referees need to be accountable. They are not Gods who’s decision is final, they make mistakes just like all us meer mortals and should be called out on it. Just like anyone else. If they make a stupid decision they should have to justify it. Not just have it brushed off and under the carpet simply because of the colour of their shirts.

These are basically a few things I have been mulling over for a while. Is there anything else you think should be discussed?