International Sledge Hockey School at Silver Blades Ice Rink Widnes

On 16th-18th September 2014, Silver Blades Ice Rink Widnes will play host to the International Sledge Hockey School.

The Sledge Hockey School is designed to bring sledge hockey players of varying experience levels together with the best coaches, offering a great opportunity for players to learn new skills and share ideas. Players and coaches are coming from as far as as Norway, Croatia, Slovakia and Austria, and are being joined by a selection of British players. The event is being hosted by Silver Blades Ice Rink Widnes in participation with Halton Borough Council and coordinated by the British Sledge Hockey Association.

For participants, the event will involve sessions delivered by world class coaches and members of the Liverpool John Moores University Sports Science department, with additional support from the British Universities Ice Hockey Association.

The school opens on 16th September and there will be a GB vs The Rest of the World game in the evening. Silver Blades Ice Rink Widnes welcomes spectators to watch the game from 18:00 onwards and offers the use of stadium seating and cafe facilities.

For more information on the event please contact Anne Taylor at Silver Blades Widnes (anne.taylor@silver-blades.co.uk) or Kim McGreal at British Sledge Hockey Association (communications@sledgehockey.co.uk).

For more information on Silver Blades Widnes please go to www.silver-blades.co.uk/page/about_us/Widnes or follow @icerinkwidnes on Twitter.

For more information on British Sledge Hockey please go to www.sledgehockey.co.uk or follow @sledgehockey on Twitter.

Sledge Hockey Exhibition Games and Ice Buckets

Not really two things you’d assume go together, but for the Manchester Phoenix and Sheffield Steelkings teams, they’re inextricably linked!

Each year, the Manchester Phoenix Ice Hockey Team and the Sheffield Steeldogs Ice Hockey Team of the English premier League hold their own War of the Roses event before the regular season begins.  A firm fan favourite, both legs (one in Sheffield and one in Manchester) invariably sell out.

This year, they’ve invited the Steelkings and Phoenix Sledge Teams to give a demonstration of our sport before their big games – something we couldn’t be more excited to do.  In fact, for the Sheffield Steelkings, this is an even bigger event as it will be their first public appearance as a team, and the first chance for people to see their brand new shirts.

However, the fun doesn’t stop there.  We’ll let the Sheffield Steeldogs explain:

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has become an internet phenomenon with people all over the world getting a soaking for charity. The ice hockey community has embraced it with Sidney Crosby setting an example that players and fans around the globe have followed.

With the gauntlet thrown down by the sledge hockey teams of Sheffield and Manchester, the coaches and owners of the Steeldogs and the Phoenix will be getting soaked at centre ice after the War of the Roses games.

This means fans from both sides who are at iceSheffield on Friday September 5th will be able to buy raffle tickets to win the chance of throwing the iced water over owner Shane Smith and player/coach Andre Payette.

50% of the money raised will go to the Sheffield sledge hockey team with 25% going to ALS and 25% to our charity of the year, Isabelle’s Appeal. This give fans a fabulous opportunity to ice Shane and Andre whilst supporting some great causes.

Manchester Phoenix have released a similar press release on their website and confirm that fans at their leg of the game on Sunday September 7th will have the opportunity to ice Neil Morris and Tony Hand.  The money raised in Manchester will be split with 50% going to the Motor Neurone Disease Association (the UK equivalent of ALS) and 50% going to the Manchester Phoenix Sledge Hockey Team.

So pick up your tickets for the events from Manchester Phoenix and Sheffield Steeldogs and get some bonus sledge hockey and ice buckets in the process!

2014 Planet Ice Sledge Hockey League Champions

Peterborough Phantoms: The 2015 Planet Ice League Champtions!

Peterborough Phantoms: The 2014 Planet Ice League Champions!

While the rest of the stats are being double-checked by our faithful statistician, we are pleased to announce that the Peterborough Phantoms are officially the 2014 Planet Ice Sledge Hockey League Champions!

After today’s decisive 7-3 win over Manchester Phoenix, the Phantoms held onto their lead at the top of the league table, with 5 wins and only 1 loss this season (ironically to Manchester Phoenix the last time the two of them met).

We’d also like to confirm that Gary Farmer doesn’t always pose for team photos without his shirt on – he’d  completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge moments earlier!

Despite this being the last game of the season, don’t forget you can see all four teams next weekend at the playoffs, where Cardiff Devils and Manchester Phoenix will be playing in the 3rd/4th place game, and Peterborough Phantoms will face off against Kingston Kestrels to see who takes home the 2014 Playoff Trophy!

It’s all still to fight for!

Photo Courtesy of Peterborough Phantoms

Photo Courtesy of Peterborough Phantoms

Saturday sees the final game in the 2014 Planet Ice Sledge Hockey League, when Peterborough Phantoms play host to Manchester Phoenix.

While the Phantoms may already be celebrating their position at the top of the league, it doesn’t mean that they won’t still go in fighting.  Like every game this season, both teams are ready to give it their all.

A quick look at the current league table shows us that there’s still plenty up for grabs:

  • Right now, Matt Clarkson of the Kingston Kestrels is sitting at the top of the points table, but with several players from both Peterborough and Manchester close behind him, can he hold on to his lead?
  • Netminders Rob Gaze and Bryan Hackworth are almost neck and neck in their save percentage – which means that Rob’s performance on Saturday could mean Bryan finishes top, even if the Phantoms win.
  • And can anyone else misbehave enough to gain more penalty minutes than Gary Farmer?!

With this being the final game, it also means that the result finalises the standings of the four teams, and will determine who plays who in the playoffs on the 30th August!

Guaranteed to be an action-packed afternoon and evening, the 3rd/4th place game starts at 16:30pm at Planet Ice Coventry, with the all-important Final taking place afterwards.  And unlike league games, there can be no tie!  So if 45 minutes isn’t enough to find a winner, we carry on going through to overtime and, eventually, penalty shoot outs!

And the best part is, there is no entry cost at all!

So mark it in your diaries now, and come along to watch the biggest event in the 2014 Planet Ice League!

Match Review: 09-August: Phoenix vs Kestrels

Steven Midghall receiving his Planet Ice MVP award from Neil Morris

Steven Midghall receiving his Planet Ice MVP award from Neil Morris

Saturday 9th August saw the final Planet Ice League home game of the season for the Manchester Phoenix as they took on the Kingston Kestrels. With a large crowd in attendance, including Phoenix EPL players James Neil & Joe Graham, as well as Phoenix owner Neil Morris, and an unbeaten home record, there was a sense of excitement in the air!

The game took a weird twist, as due to traffic and unforeseen circumstances, the Kestrels couldn’t ice a full line, meaning the game was forfeit, automatically giving Phoenix the win. However, with both teams wanting to put a game on, Phoenix loaned Karl Nicholson and Steve Bradley to the Kestrels to give them a full line – game on!

The first period started with a few early hits, including Anthony Booth on Karl Nicholson, proving that if you aren’t wearing the Phoenix shirt, you aren’t getting an easy time, no matter who you are! Just over 2:30 in and Booth got a breakaway.  Although his shot was saved, he still managed to put in the rebound! Kestrels came storming back though and almost a minute later Matt Clarkson came in alone against Steve Midghall in the Phoenix net.  He managed to take it round him, slid it across the crease but Midghall covered. Some great defensive work by both teams kept chances to premium until nearly 8 minutes on the clock when Booth almost caught Kingston out with a long shot, but it’s pushed aside at the last second. The next 2 minutes saw Kestrels register 3 goals, with Matt Clarkson rifling a shot from the top of the circle into the top corner.

Straight from the face off, Karl Nicholson collected the puck, weaved through traffic and rifled a shot past Midghall. Phoenix applied pressure but a quick Kestrels break just 45 seconds after their second goal gave Clarkson a break and he beat Midghall far side. Both teams traded chances, with a huge glove save through traffic by Midghall at the 12 minute mark, which led to a great break by Phoenix and Rob Allen leaving a delicate drop pass to Booth who shot it agonisingly wide. The period ended 3-1 Kestrels.

The second period saw Ian Warner join the Kestrels after being held up in traffic, so Phoenix got Karl Nicholson back. The period started with both teams battling, but it was Kestrels who got the breakthrough just over 2:30 in, with Matt Clarkson getting his hat trick by shooting quickly just over Midghall’s pads. Phoenix picked up their play, refusing to get down, with the crowd roaring on every attack. The next few minutes showed some great passing plays by both teams, but just under 7 minutes in and a wrap around attempt by Booth was smothered by Bryan Hackworth in the Kestrels goal. However just 20 seconds later Rob Allen took a long shot, and although saved, the rebound was roofed by Karl Nicholson, making the score 4-2! Just 30 seconds later it was 4-3, as a great backhand pass by Rob Allen after a great battle for the puck left Nicholson with a open net to slot the puck in! The Kestrels hit back with a lot of pressure, Midghall in net and Graham Wilson & Mike Stevenson in defence hold strong, but with just under 10 minutes on the clock, Ian Warner caught the defence on a breakaway and slipped past Wilson, putting the puck past Midghall. Chances were traded as the period drew to a close, but Nicholson got a breakaway with 40 seconds left.  Hackworth held firm and blocked the shot to take his team in to the break 5-3 up!

With both teams still looking to take the win, they started at a fast, physical pace, but it was the home side who make the first breakthrough of the period.  Booth picked up the puck in the Phoenix zone, banked a pass off the boards to Nicholson, who collected it and broke in to the Kestrels zone, blasting the puck past the keeper! With just a goal in it, the game picked up in both physicality and intensity, and both teams cancelled each other out for the next several minutes.  Steve Bradley, guesting for the Kestrels, blocked several Phoenix shots, however Nicholson forced his way into the zone just over 8 minutes in, went behind the net and passed back hand to Booth who roofed the puck to tie the game 5-5! Minutes later and Midghall made a spectacular glove save from a long range shot by Clarkson, bringing applause from fans and players alike! With the seconds ticking down the suspense in the atmosphere became tangible, as both sides had chances and both netminders shut the door, but with just over a minute left Ian Warner got a chance and made no mistakes, slotting the puck in the net from the left circle. The Phoenix threw everything at the Kestrels for the last minute, but just couldn’t get the break as the final buzzer sounded! A great performance by both sides, with the crowd treated to another entertaining game, and some valuable experience gained for many new players!

Steve Midghall was awarded MVP of the game, receiving his award from Neil Morris. With one game left, the Phoenix can still finish second by claiming at least a point in their last game in Peterborough, showing how far the league has come this year, that the last game still holds so much for several teams!

The Manchester Phoenix Sledge Hockey Team with Manchester Phoenix's Neil Morris

The Manchester Phoenix Sledge Hockey Team with Manchester Phoenix’s Neil Morris

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @MP_Sledgehockey and look for us on Facebook, to keep up to date with everything that’s going on with the team. Also check out the Phoenix Podcast who again featured our game Lastly a huge thanks to all the volunteers for helping us put the games on, our sponsors for helping put together programmes etc, the podcast for featuring us and making us feel like the pro’s and the fans who really have inspired the team this year! We had hoped to get some good crowds down, but never as big as we actually did! You are a credit to the club and the organisation!

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