David Clements is a Coventry boy, born and bred. He’s been a part of the Coventry Blaze for most of his adult playing carer with just a short stint with the MK Lightning before they rose to play in the Elite League.
It was his seventh birthday, which changed it all for him and made him feel that ice hockey was what he wanted to do. He watched a game and was hooked, which sounds like most players I have interviewed, most fans too honestly. The hockey bug bites us all. David tells me that his earliest playing memory was his first goal. “It was a backhand from the red line in the under 10’s verses Telford.”
We talked some about growing up in Coventry. of afternoons spent in Memorial Park with friends. He fondly remembers playing football for the Coventry City academy and his local Sunday league team. As an adult he says he doesn’t spend as much time in the city as he once did but rather he visits other places and travels around with his girlfriend. He recommends Kenilworth, saying that it was a nice place to visit. WHen he’s not out and about he enjoys spending time with his family or playing on the Playstation with the boys!
If he had to pick his favourite pub in Coventry it would be the Old Windmill Inn on Spon Street and the best restaurant in his opinion would be Hickories or Miller & Carter.
A few weeks ago he was reunited with old teammates Brian Stewart and Matt Marquardt for his graduation ceremony where he graduated from Coventry University with a 2:1 in Sport Management. “Me and Ross [Venus] did the course together and we missed a lot of classes due to practise. We spent a lot of time trying to play catch up and that made it quite difficult at times, but graduation was a great time and very nice to catch up with old team mates.”
We also talked about away games and travel. It can at times but such a strain on players if the travel time is too long, but David passes the time listening to music. If the trip is particularly long he’ll watch a movie or two but his own personal favourite way to pass time on the road is the beat some of his teammates at cards!
He explains that his favourite rink to play in that isn’t the Skydome is the SSE Arena in Belfast, which the Blaze actually visited not long before I conducted this interview. “The arena is great! The dressing room is huge, the city itself is great and we always have a great crowd of travelling fans that come with us, which only adds to the noise from the home fans.”
After a game, what is the first thing he picks up on getting back into the dressing room? For some players, it’s a piece of pizza or a beer, but for David it’s his phone. Though only when he’s sorted himself out and is back in his suit.
With the Superbowl coming up, I asked if he supported any NFL teams. A lot of players have a favourite hockey team regardless of their nationality but not many non-American’s support the NFL. “I don’t support a team in the NFL, but if I had to pick one I’d say the [Philadelphia] Eagles just because they’ve never won the Superbowl.” That’ll make our editor Stu Coles happy! However David’s NHL team of choice is the Toronto Maple Leafs. My opinion on that one I’ll keep to myself. Being a Washington Capitals fan I don’t really have a leg to stand on!
On the 18th February, the Coventry Blaze will officially retire #17 in honour of Russ Cowley. Russ played over 900 games and was a huge influence on the youngsters in the Blaze dressing room, David among them. “I learned so many things off Cowls.” He begins, “The first was before I moved to Canada and he told me not to change the way I played over there. Seven years later, he continued to help boost my confidence on and off the ice. He was a great leader. On and off the ice he motivated the guys to want to do better. He was a great character to have and I’m sure the guys that played with him will miss him.”
Header photo: Scott Wiggins via Coventry Blaze official website.