Tag Archives: Coventry Blaze

Statiscally speaking, the Cardiff Devils are better this year

The Cardiff Devils currently sit second in the EIHL with 38 points, two points off top spot with two games in hand. That’s a very favourable position to be in.

There has been a lot of criticism of this team that I’m not going to get too into, What I am going to do is explain how the Devils have actually improved from last year, the issue is so has the league.

Continue reading Statiscally speaking, the Cardiff Devils are better this year

Each EIHL teams top prospect

With Great Britain returning to the top group of International Ice Hockey for the first time since 1994, and Liam Kirk being drafted into the NHL, it’s an exciting time for British Ice Hockey, so what better time to examine each EIHL teams top prospect.

Now to define “top prospect” I’ll be looking at players who are on either a one-way or two-way deal with an EIHL team currently and are 23-years-old or younger, and British. If you want to see more about the top young stars of the EIHL from all nations, click here to see our countdown from 25 – 11, and here to see our countdown from 10 – 1 of our list of the top 25 players aged 25 or younger.

Continue reading Each EIHL teams top prospect

Thom Flodqvist joins Blaze on loan for the rest of the year

Following a couple of notable departures recently, the Coventry Blaze have announced a new arrival in 28-year-old Swedish forward Thom Flodqvist.

After spending most of his career to date in his home country of Sweden, the forward who can play both down the middle or on the wing joins from Allsvenskan side Södertälje SK on loan for the remainder of the season.

At 5’10” and 185lbs, he’s not a big body but he plays an energetic game that should allow him to be noticed almost immediately when he eventually makes his Blaze debut.

Continue reading Thom Flodqvist joins Blaze on loan for the rest of the year

EIHL 18/19 – 24 Leave in Opening 15 Weeks

With Manchester Storm announcing the departure of Brendan Brooks yesterday, the EIHL player departure headcount now sits at 24. In just 15 weeks, 7 of the 11 teams have lost at least 1 player, and in a couple of cases, also their coach. This week alone has seen 5 casualties – Is it poor recruitment, poor pay, or is the league just not a place players want to be?

There is an argument for all of the above, and hockey players getting gassed or moving mid-season certainly isn’t a new phenomenon. In season past, numerous EIHL players have changed teams, but to lose so many so soon? And alarmingly, the list of 24 does not include Danick Paquette or Tom Parisi, both who left their teams (Coventry & Cardiff respectively) before the season officially got underway.

CTP’s own Lucy Hamilton, has been tracking the movements for each club:

1200px-Cardiff_Devils_logo.svg

7/11 – Ben Blood

4/12 – Justin Faryna

Blaze

4/12 – Miika Wiikmann

4/12 – Kelin Ainsworth

LogoGuildfordFlames

3/10 – Kevin Phillips

manchester-storm-website-logo

26/10 – Marcus Basara

20/11 – Jindrich Pacl

23/11 – Dylan Anderson

6/12 – Brendan Brooks

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2/11 – Joonas Houvinen

14/11 – Head Coach Doug McKay

21/11 – Eric Neiley

1/12 – Rihards Grigors

Panthers New

18/11 – Jacob Doty

27/11 – Sam Gospel

29/11 – Tyler VanKleef

3/12 – Tyler Biggs

Steelers Logo

17/9 – Matt Rupert

17/9 – Ryan Rupert

1/10 – Head Coach Paul Thompson

24/10 – Brendan Brooks

28/10 Chris Lawrence

30/10 Jiri Gula

25/11 Bradley Day (loaned to Hull Pirates)


The League?

Despite dropping to 11 teams, the EIHL appears to be in good shape and is arguably more competitive than in recent times. The Devils have strengthened over the summer, but certainly do not look like they have the stranglehold on the league that they did last season. At the other end of the table, Dundee & MK have shown they can compete, and win, against anyone when on their game. The UK in general is still seen as a tourist destination, and is a big selling point for players who come to play in the league.

Poor Pay/Benefits?

On our list of 24, not all have been gassed by their teams. Several have moved to take up opportunities elsewhere. Is it purely money? Are there greater opportunities outside of the game which prompts the move or is it simply career progression? Regardless of motive, Cardiff were open in saying they were compensated for the loss of Ben Blood, but were Coventry compensated for Ainsworth?

Poor Recruitment /Coaching?

The Rupert brothers immediately spring to mind, but both appear to be picking up points since their return to the ECHL. Of course, clubs rely on various methods to pick up players, such as word of mouth or their contacts from years past, but does the blame lie with the contacts, or with the coach making the signings? In the case of the Rupert’s, was it purely the coach not knowing how to play them?

One thing is for sure – The issue with the vast amount of roster changes head resulted in some fans feeling somewhat disconnected from their teams. Coventry have seen 5 netminders this season, Sheffield have lost 6 players already, MK lost arguably their best player, Guildford lost a loyal Brit who was loved by many and Cardiff have lost 2 fan favourites. All mid-season.

Your Thoughts?

There is no doubt the player merry-go-round will continue, but what can teams do to stop the better players in the league from leaving? Or does the EIHL in general need to do more to promote itself and make it more appealing in general?

Information correct at time of publication [12:00 07/12/18] will be updated as things change

Miroslav Kopriva Returns to Coventry Blaze

Following the announcement that Miika Wiikman has been released, The Coventry Blaze have announced the return of Miroslav Kopriva.

The 34 year old Czech native started the season with the Blaze but was released after picking up an injury. Now recovered, he is due to return to the UK tomorrow.

Head Coach Danny Stewart: “Getting ‘Miro’ back is vital to help us get through a rough patch. We know what he brings and he knows better what to expect second time around. He will get on the ice a couple times in preparation for a big weekend for us. We would like to thank ‘Wiiks’ (Miika Wiikman) for his time here. He battled through an injury early on, and when he came back was put in a tough spot. He’s a great professional and we wish him the best.” 

 

Featured Image – CoventryBlaze.com/Scott Wiggins

Miika Wiikman Released By Coventry Blaze

The Coventry Blaze have announced that experienced netminder, Miika Wiikman, has been released from his contract with immediate effect.

The announcement comes the same day that centerman Kelin Ainsworth asked for his release to move to the Aalborg Pirates.

Wiikman was in his fourth season in the Elite League, starting life in the UK with the Nottingham Panthers. After a pair of seasons he moved to Elite League newcomers, the MK Lightning, and then made the jump to Coventry this summer.

The decision to release Wiikman was made by Blaze Head Coach, Danny Stewart, who commented: “We would like to thank ‘Wiiks’ for his time here. He battled through an injury early on, and when he came back was put in a tough spot. He’s a great professional and we wish him the best.”

 

 

Featured Image – CoventryBlaze.com/Scott Wiggins