Category Archives: Interviews

Blood Brothers | This Means War

Paul and Tim Crowder wouldn’t know back in July that they would end up playing in the same league this season, although maybe – they would. Paul Crowder signed for Fife back in the off season from league and playoff champions the Cardiff Devils, but Tim came into the Coventry locker room a short while into the season from French side Chamonix. A late addition to the roster to help give the Blaze an edge. From speaking to these siblings, it’s obvious that they’re close. When I wrote the article title, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the siblings who grew up playing the greatest sport on Earth.

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Flames Legend Series – Andy Sparks

Welcome to the Guildford Flames Legends series. A series which will put the spotlight back onto the great players which formed such a vital part of the history of the club. Players who created many special moments on ice and players who helped build the infrastructure of the club; Cult heroes, championship winners – The very players who we think about when the “good ol’ days” are discussed.

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EASHL – The Virtual Hockey Stars of the Manchester Storm

The chances of playing in the NHL is so slim that you probably have more chance of striking gold in your bathtub, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make it however, it just means that at a 0.16 percent chance of being drafted and then only a 0.02 percent chance of playing, the odds are very much against you.

That’s why most of us choose to stay at home and live out our dreams through video games with our friends and a whole batch of alcohol!

EASHL is a game mode that was implemented on the last generation of consoles and is a way to play with your friends in a similar way to ‘Pro Clubs’ on FIFA.

Each player controls their own custom character and you work together in teams ranging from 2 to 6 (including manual goalkeeper) and go about taking on the worlds best.

Today I have the fortune, or misfortune whichever way you look at it, of interviewing my very own team-mates.

This is the Manchester Storm EASHL (EA Sports Hockey League) team.

Alright boys, behave yourself now we’re read by all ages!

Jamie – Better get that sensor button out then

When did you all start playing NHL and how did you join the Storm?

Kimm – 2013 I think, me and Shaft began the team and ended up with this group of specials.

Smog – I started with NHL 14, teamed up with a group of try-hards and then searched out a Storm team.

Shaft – I started in 2013 and helped start the team with Kimm.

Jamie – I joined in late 2017, was playing hockey a bit as a kid.

Dino – I started playing back on the Megadrive… I’m proper old… I got bored one night while drinking and ended up on the team, I remember Kimm asking me to sniff a rag and then I woke up in a van… I still haven’t seen those puppies.

Jonesy – Wait, this is a team?

What position and role do you play in the team?

Kimm – I’m the fragile glue that holds these idiots together, I skate around and hit as many people as I can.  Instigator I guess would be my role!  I play wing.

Shaft – I play wing.

Smog – I play defense, I build myself as big as I can and I make sure I crush everyone that comes near me.  Revenge is sweet!

Jamie – I play defender with Smog.

Dino – I’m the center, I play both ways because I am greedy.

Kimm- Both ways eh?

Dino – Absolutely, fill the slot.

Jonesy – I play with myself…

How long have you been with the team?

Kimm and Shaft – Since day 1, we co-founded the club!

Smog – I joined up a few weeks after 14 launched, about 4 years ago or so.

Jamie – 2 years, I think I’m the newest member?

Dino – Yeah and we can’t get rid of you now!

Jamie – *expletive*

Dino – I joined up around Christmas 2014, first team I ever played for and wouldn’t go to another… On my main account…

Kimm – What?

Dino – Nothing.

Jonesy – Anyone know what time Tesco shuts?

Who is your favorite player and team?

Kimm – My Favorite player of all-time is Frankie Pietranglo because he’s amazing and he gave me his stick!

Dino – Yeah I bet he gave you his ‘Stick’

Jamie – Did he give you his ‘Wood’?

Smog- Was it long?

Kimm – *expletive*

Shaft – My Favorite team is the Manchester Storm and I absolutely love Thomas the Tank Engine.

**Whole team lets the comment pass**

Smog – Chara is a legend, I model my game around his hitting and the Bruins are my team.

Jamie – Anaheim would have to be my team because I love the Mighty Ducks movies, my favorite player is Phil Kessel, dump truck with pace.

Dino – I’ve been a Blackhawks fan since I was a tiny kid and stay by them through thick and thin… Mostly thick… Favourite player is too hard to choose, I would say Gretzky and Me.  Seriously, I was such a brilliant player, I could teach these young ones a thing or two.

Jonesy – …

Dino – Isn’t your favourite team Philadelphia Jonesy?

Kimm – Yeah don’t you like that Giroux?

Smog – I thought it was Lindros?

Jonesy – I actually hate you all.

Do you have any funny nicknames?

It was at this point in the interview that I took it upon myself to tell you what everyone’s nickname actually is in brackets…

Kimm – My nickname is Kimmadim, there’s no real story behind it (Scoutmaster)

Shaft – Shafty the Tank Engine

Smog – I’m called Smog because we are locally referred to as Smoggies in Middlesbrough.

Dino – Smoggies? Are they like doggers?

Smog – No the town has always been an area of heavy industry, plenty of smoke, hence Smoggies… There’s also plenty of dogging! (The Kahlua Kid)

Jamie – My nickname is the Raccoon but I have a sneaking suspicion there will be something else written (He would be absolutely correct, Father Jamie)

Dino – I’ve got far too many that are unprintable, more friendly ones are The Wedding Crasher / Sherbet / Alcoholic… Nobhead?

Jonesy – Baaaaaaaaaaaabara

What has been your favorite moment playing for the Storm?

Kimm – There are two moments that stand out, the first was back on NHL 14 when we got over 100 hits in a game, we’ve come close a few times but never topped it.  The other is when we beat a fan made team of the Sheffield Steelers and they disbanded after we stuffed them!

Jamie – I remember watching that on YouTube live!  My favorite moment is when we took on an “Overconfident” group and put them to the sword in the first period we had them down by 4 and they were accidentally disconnecting!

Smog – Best moment was winning the playoffs!

Shaft – The best time I ever had was beating the French national team, that was a great match!

Dino – Yeah the banter before the game was almost as good as the game itself!

Jonesy – The night we discussed the most offensive jokes about…

**Group quickly shushes Jonesy and moves on**

Dino – I haven’t really got a favorite moment, I am just really proud of the way we have all come together as a team over the years, we went from winning absolutely nothing and being a laughing-stock that just battered people and got penalties to a division 1 team that takes home titles for fun.  Doesn’t get any better than that really!

Kimm – Yeah that’s pretty cool.

Dino – Although smashing that smug little *expletive* that kept sending me messages was pretty amazing, WHO’S LAUGHING NOW KEVIN_ROMY_88? Not so clever when you’re getting absolutely mullered are you?

Who is your favorite Spice Girl?

Kimm – Mel C because she understands the offside rule!

Dino – And because she’s a man?

Kimm – I still would…

Jamie – I can’t remember the names of them, the one with the ginger hair and the airbags.

Smog – I like a nice bit of Posh!

Dino – I like a bit of baby… Hang on, that came out seriously wrong!

Shaft – I’ll take Beyoncé.

Who is the trouble maker of the team?

Kimm – It’s a tough one because we all like to start trouble, haft does always seem to get into fights though…

Jamie – Yeah we don’t have ONE, we all like to cause grief!

Smog – Trouble maker for the team?  EVERYONE, bunch of animals the lot of them!

Shaft – Definitely Smog, he’s a tank!

Dino – It’s Shaft, without a doubt.  I have never seen anyone get so many fights, he’s a magnet for scrapping!

Jonesy – Jamie, he can’t keep off the kids…

 

Alright, that’s enough of that!!!

Thank you to the Manchester Storm EASHL team, 11-time division 1 champions and all round fantastic blokes.  Without them I wouldn’t have gotten through life as well as I have, this is more a thank you to them for being amazing friends and for always having my back through thick and thin, I know I can always count on you guys.

 

Thank you

 

If you’re interested in playing EASHL or Ice Hockey in general then NHL 19 is currently available for XBox One and Playstation 4, well worth a grab if you want a bit of fun banter!

 

 

 

 

 

Player Spotlight | Bari McKenzie

“It was an absolute honour and a privilege to be a part of Fife this year. I didn’t realise it at the time but it’s a huge achievement. I’m certainly not still going to be playing for their 90th or 100th. I might be watching though.” Bari Mckenzie begins as we sit down to talk about his move to the team.

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The Ladies of Solway – An Interview with the Solway Sharks

If you have been reading my articles for a while now you will know that I like to champion the areas of the sport that people either don’t know about or look over.

Firstly it was the superstars over at the Manchester Mayhem that welcomed me into their fold and treated me like a long-lost son and now I am taking my focus and sending over to the ladies ice hockey league.

Yeah that’s right, LADIES.

Now people may not realize this but the ladies game has been around in the UK since 1984, the league started with just a few teams – Brighton Amazons, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Peterborough Ravens and the Solihull Vixens. Of these founding teams, only two are still operating in Oxford and Solihull.

Cambridge has themselves a non-league team and after the Peterborough Ravens folded they re-branded as the Penguins.

But for today we are going up to the North, right up to the North where we are speaking to the only ladies team in Scotland, the Solway Sharks Ladies Ice Hockey team.

Hi there and thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, why don’t you tell me a little about the club, where you’re based, how long you’ve been a team, when you play and what league do you play in.

The Solway Sharks Ladies Ice Hockey Team was created in May 2013 by the Solway Sharks Ice Hockey Club in conjunction with Dumfries & Galloway Council. We are based at the Ice Bowl, Dumfries, (Southwest Scotland) and train every Tuesday night.

Being the only league team in Scotland, we have to play our league games in the Ladies English North Division 1 League. At the moment this consists of just 3 other teams -Sheffield, Telford, Grimsby. The English league is made up of 4 divisions – the Elite with 6 teams, Premier with 8 teams, Division 1 South 9 teams and our North division.

The ladies game in the US is really coming along, how do you think the game is progressing for ladies in the UK? Are people taking notice?

Slowly! Despite continued development, women’s ice hockey unfortunately still has a fair way to go. The sport, more so in Scotland, suffers from a lack of players, as well as limited ice time. Solway Sharks Ladies are only able to train late at night – on ice at 10:15pm. This in itself puts off potential new players. Our team members travel from various locations outwork the region, including Glasgow, Troon, the lake distract and as far North as Dundee… A dedicated few keep the sport alive, and we hope to continue to develop women’s involvement in this sport and to boost its popularity both locally and nationally.

Is the game as hard-hitting as men’s hockey? Is there fighting and hard checks?

Women’s Ice Hockey is a non-contact sport, there can be some aggression of course, to be expected when you’ve got a group of competitive women. However, it is nowhere near as aggressive and violent as the men’s game can be! Cross checking is not allowed and those caught doing so are penalised. Women were required to wear a full face guard although this rule has recently been lifted. Personally, I’ll be keeping my face guard in place.

Does the ladies game play any different? Are the periods the same length etc?

No difference. Exactly the same format as the men’s – 3 x 20 minute periods

Who are some of your favorite players, who would you have loved to play against/play with?

Due to being relatively new to the sport I haven’t really got a favourite player. At the moment I’m trying to take in as much hockey as I can, both male and female games. I recently enjoyed reading about Manon Rhéaume – being ‘the first woman to play in the NHL’ – everything she achieved gave women’s hockey such a boost and inspired a generation of females to give ice hockey a try.

How did you get into playing ice hockey? Was it something you fell in love with at an early age or did you just turn up and have a go? Realize you were decent?

I wish I had got into it at an earlier age. I’m no spring chicken. I enjoyed watching the local ice hockey team when I was around 15/16 years old. The Ice Bowl was new to the town then and popular with my friends and I – we’d spend our whole weekends there. It didn’t feature in my interests again until I had children of my own and took them skating. It was then that I heard about the Come and Try sessions held by the ladies team. I went along, tried it, and loved it. I certainly don’t think I’m a natural, but the enjoyment I gain from being on the ice, and from being a part of this diverse group of females makes me determined to develop and improve myself.

What’s the greatest moment in club history? An amazing goal, a trophy, a league win or even a fantastic comeback?

I think gaining a win in the 1st season of the teams existence was met with huge celebration! The teams are also very proud to have been given the “Sports Team of the Year 2015″ award by Dumfries & Galloway Life Magazine.

Who has been at the club the longest?

Mo Muir. It was Mo who set up the club and has been with the team ever since. Along with the team coach, she also runs female development sessions every Sunday morning. These are for any female, of any age and any ability to come along, try hockey for first time or to try develop existing skills. These sessions are great for introducing complete beginners to the sport and hopefully create new signings for the team. Mo has Canadian blood in her veins, she is a huge hockey fan and I truly believe she spends more time in the rink that she does at home.

Do you think the sport is growing again in the UK like it did in the 1990s?

I think it’s slowly gaining momentum but only by the hard work and dedication of a small number of people. There are a lot of young females coming up through the levels, a lot of under 18s, and I’d like to think in a few years time women’s ice hockey will be as popular and well covered as the men’s.

Does anyone have any strange pregame rituals? Any superstitions they believe? When I played there was a guy that never washed his shorts… grim!

Not many. One players sits in the same spot in the locker room, and she kits up left side first, before right side. Two of the girls admitted to always eating scrambled eggs for breakfast, and another always wears the same socks… washed of course! A couple of the girls have made a new ritual to go for ice cream before each game.

Now this is the most important part of the interview, the part where the biggest hockey players shake in their boots, this is where I ask the burning question that is on everybody’s lips… however, this being a ladies team, who is your favourite member of Boyzone?

Ok, if I had to pick one of them I guess it’d have to be Shane. Little bit rough n ready with a few tattoos. The rest of them are all a little too ‘squeaky clean’.

Do you have a merchandise store?

Not at present, however it is something that we would like to look into in the future. At the moment there isn’t a huge demand for team merchandise, but maybe as our team grows, our profile grows so will our fan base, which will then result in the creation of our own goods.

Thank you very much for this, I’d love to come and watch you all play one day and even grab a jersey if they’re available!

It’s super important to note that the incredibly talented Megan Gourley has just been selected for the Great Britain Under-18 Women for next month’s four-team international tournament in Poland!

All the best Megan, everyone here at Chasing the Puck will be cheering you on each step of the way, you’re gonna be fantastic!

Guildford Flames – October Review

Following a mixed bag of results in September, the Flames would have been hoping for better in October. The month consisted of 9 games for the Flames, 8 of which counted towards the league and just 1 towards the Challenge Cup group. The outcome? Things are on the up!

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