All posts by Ollie Hampson

Journalism graduate trying to move into the sports media world

Gleason Fournier – The record breaker

I’m not sure if you’ve notice this or not, but Gleason Fournier is a half decent hockey player.

Skates well, passes the puck well, solid defensively and good in the offensive zone, he’s not bad some would say.

Most would say he’s incredible, let’s be honest. At 27-years-old, what the Cardiff Devils blueliner is doing this year is bordering on scary.

Continue reading Gleason Fournier – The record breaker


Opinion: Leave DOPS alone! It’s not actually as bad as you say

One of the hardest jobs in professional sports is to work on the Department of Player Safety. Mostly because despite your best intentions, angry fans will never appreciate you just doing your job.

Let’s just be up front and honest from the start, most of your issues with DOPS come from the fact that one of your players got suspended, that’s your initial anger. Then you dissect the reason and sometimes you see logic behind the suspension, but sometimes you’ll keep your “insert team colour here” tinted glasses on and that’s where the same boring “DOPS is (insert chosen swear word here)” social media posts come in.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being unhappy, it’s the same reason why some of you yell “shoot” much to the dismay of fans who’ve given themselves an elevated sense of importance based on how long they’ve been watching the sport (as though that means anything), it’s fueled by passion. But the truth of the matter is that the Elite League’s Department of Player Safety isn’t actually doing a bad job.

Continue reading Opinion: Leave DOPS alone! It’s not actually as bad as you say

Whatever happened to… – Dan Bakala

Right now in the EIHL we have some superb goalies. Ben Bowns for example leading the way for the Brits, Tyler Beskorowany back stopping the Giants to potential silverware this year and Patrick Killeen putting in stellar performances despite his club being in last place.

But one of the best goaltenders the league has ever seen stopped by for one year in Scotland, and since then has gone to unbelievable heights following his year in Dundee.

Just in his second year of professional hockey following a great four years at Bemidji State University between 2008 and 2012, Dan Bakala joined the Dundee Stars for the 2013/14 season, helping the Stars to an incredible third place finish in the EIHL that year, with Bakala playing outstanding in net, and guys like  Nico Sacchetti, Jerry Pollastrone and Nikita Kashirsky scoring for fun to help Dundee to their highest ever finish in their EIHL career.

Continue reading Whatever happened to… – Dan Bakala

Commentators Curse: Cardiff Devils 6 – 5 Milton Keynes Lightning

If I had to describe last nights game using just one word, that word would be…odd.

The Cardiff Devils had to come from 4 – 1 down to defeat the Milton Keynes Lightning 6 – 5 in a game that had basically everything you’d want apart from a fight.

11 goals, controversial calls, and one hell of a spirited performance by the visitors, MK made the Devils work for the two points, but for the Lightning it was a great performance on the back of a difficult week.

When the Devils took the lead through Stephen Dixon less than three minutes in, I think you’d be forgiven for thinking the Devils were about to run riot, but credit to Milton Keynes, despite the low numbers and running with just four defenseman, they stuck to the task at hand and found their way into the game, so now I’m going to dissect a few things I noticed while calling the game for IceTime TV.

Continue reading Commentators Curse: Cardiff Devils 6 – 5 Milton Keynes Lightning

Bentivoglio handed two-game suspension, Mazanec penalty downgraded

It’s been a busy period in the EIHL DoPS office lately, and following last nights 6 – 5 win for the Cardiff Devils over the Milton Keynes Lightning, there’s need for further reviews.

One of the biggest talking points of the game was the Devils second goal. Before the Devils had the puck in the offensive zone and scored to make it a 4 – 2 game, the Lightning were looking to add a fifth down the other end of the ice.

Continue reading Bentivoglio handed two-game suspension, Mazanec penalty downgraded

Whatever happened to…- Devin DiDiomete

Well we’re doing this. Welcome to part two of our “Whatever happened to…” series where we look into the careers of former EIHL players in their days after playing in this league.

You can check out part one on Jereme Tendler be clicking anywhere on this sentence, honestly anywhere, we hyperlinked the entire sentence, apart from this last word.

Let’s get into part two.

In 2012, the EIHL got it’s first glimpse at Devin Didiomete, a hard nosed player who crossed the line more times than you could care to count.

A loud mouth on Social Media and on the ice, DiDiomete didn’t make too many friends (Mike Danton being one of the people who seemed to hate him the most), racking up 123 penalty minutes in just 19 appearances before he was released from the Devils after an eventful few months in South Wales that saw him involved in a post-game fight with Benn Olson of the Coventry Blaze, earning himself a three-game ban in the process.

After his release from the Devils, DiDiomete bounced around a bit, playing in the ECHL and AHL that year, before a 12 game stint for Farjestad in the SHL a year later, before ending the season with Milano Rossoblu in Italy,

DiDiomete then returned to the EIHL on a short term deal with the Sheffield Steelers for three games in the 2014-15 season before bouncing around the ECHL for the rest of the season, and then a year later he was back for his last (I don’t want to say final just yet) stint in this league with 27 games for the Manchester Storm (where he once tried to climb into the opposing teams penalty box to go after Danny Stewart) after he initially began the year in Slovakia for HC Banska Bystrica.

But where has DiDiomete been since? If you haven’t guessed by the title…we’re about to tell you.

Since his last appearance in this league, DiDiomete has really turned his career around, and you’d be surprised to see how good he’s doing since he left the antics he showed in the EIHL behind him and got back to playing the game of hockey.

He returned to Italy in the 2016-17 season after a couple of years away after his stint with Milan in 2013/14. His first stint he ended the year with 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 23 games, and he wasn’t far off matching that pace in his first year back in Italy.

Joining the AlpsHL for Fassa, DiDiomete as expected led the team (and league) in penalty minutes with 129, but was fourth on the team in scoring with 13 goals and 19 assists, totaling 32 assists in 38 games played, we would say it was the most points by a player to get over 100 penalty minutes that year, but he was the only one to get over 100 penalty minutes that year, still pretty impressive, although given his 10 points in 19 games for the Devils, he did showcase an ability to play the game when he wasn’t too busy using his body as a battering ram, or his fists to fight, or his fingers to fines for what he was posting on social media.

After an impressive return to Italy, Fassa extended his contract through the 2017/18 season, where he continued his physical and penalty minute fueled style of play (leading the team and league once again with 95 penalty minutes this time), but improving to just one point shy of a point per game with 17 goals, 18 assists and 35 points in 36 outings, finishing second only to Sam Rothstein in terms of points who led with 37, but actually leading the entire team with 17 goals.

After two years in Fassa, and finishing low in terms of table position (13th and 16th respectively), DiDiomete moved last summer to his current team Cortina in the same league.

Through 32 games so far, Deeds has set a career high in goals with 19, and adding 8 assists for 27 points, second most on the team behind Riccardo Lacedelli with 30.

Cortina currently sit 10th in the 17 team league (while his previous team Fassa occupy last place with just four wins all year at this point).

Now DiDiomete has a new found love for the game, putting up good numbers while continuing his physical play, but with less of the bad stuff. Last April he told Ian Denomme of The Athletic that he’d found his love for the game again, and is actually in consideration for a call up to the Italian national side now, so like some of the Brits he would’ve played with during his time in the EIHL he could be heading out to Slovakia to play against some of the best countries in the world, but with Italy playing in the other group to GB, if he makes the final team he won’t have much of a chance to renew old friendships.

Fans in the EIHL and Italy will tell different stories of DiDiomete who’s playing the best hockey of his life at the age of 30.

With just shy of 200 fights in his career from the OHL through his professional days, his last fight (according to was against Danny Stewart in his Manchester Storm days. Since then he’s found love for the sport. While we’ll remember him as a character and a fighter that you either loved or hated, we can put that down to be young a stupid, while the Italian fans are getting the older and more mature Devin DiDiomete who’s having one hell of a redemption story in the Alps Hockey League.

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Four suspensions and both clubs fined the maximum following DoPS report

They kept us waiting longer than expected, but after that infamous game between the Fife Flyers and Manchester Storm that sparked a bit of a post game brawl, the Elite League Department of Player Safety has finally released details of the inevitable suspensions following this weekends unofficial EIHL Royal Rumble.

Continue reading Four suspensions and both clubs fined the maximum following DoPS report