Category: Players

September 12th, 2016 by Nancy Carpenter

MK Thunder have made a number of impressive signings this season. One of these is defenceman Ross Green, who has an impressive 9 seasons with EPL team MK Lightning under his belt despite being only 24!


482Days: To start with, how did you get into playing hockey?
RG: I first began playing through a schools program. My primary school would come to the ice rink once a week, and play for our P.E lesson. And I progressed from there.

Ross Green (2)482Days: You had your first call up to the EPL Lightning side when you were still an U16 player, what was that like – especially since it was going straight into the high-pressure of a playoff game?
RG: It was a fantastic experience, despite not getting much ice time. For me as a young guy coming into the changing room feeling the atmosphere and seeing how all the senior players would prepare themselves for such a crucial game was a big learning curve on how to be successful at that level, and helped to motivate me to want to play at that level.

482Days: After that you were on 2-ways with U18’s, Thunder and Lightning for the next few years – did you need to make any major changes to your game depending on which league you were competing in?
RG: The standard differed so much between each of the leagues that I wouldn’t be able to get away with making the same plays at u18s as say EPL level so I would really have to adapt my style of play depending on the situation I was inMy role within each team were significantly different as there where different expectations. For example I wasn’t expected to go out and provide much offense in the EPL where as in the ENL and Under 18s I would play on the powerplay.

482Days: How much ice time were you getting altogether, training and playing with 3 teams like that?
RG: I was on the ice training around 7 hours a week and sometimes playing 3 games a weekend.

Ross Green (1)482Days: You have been a ‘one-club’ player at MK, an increasingly rare thing these days – what was it at MK that kept you so loyal? 
RG: I feel I owe a lot to Milton Keynes and the opportunities they have provided me with over the years. They have always had such a professional organisation and a great group of fans which has meant that it has always been an easy decision to stay.

482Days: You represented GB twice, once each at U18 and U20 level. – What was that experience like? – U20’s especially was a tough year – being relegated from Div 1A (a very high standard), what was the playing level of the other teams like?
RG: Its such a proud moment to represent your country. I was fortunate enough to play in Div 1A twice. The level of hockey was so high, your playing against future NHL prospects who are at the tournament looking to impress the scouts from north America and Europe.

482Days: How would you best describe the style of hockey you like to play?
RG: I would say its fast direct and competitive.

Ross Green (3)482Days: What was behind your decision to drop back down a league to NIHL this season?
RG: I broke my leg towards the end of the 14-15 season. because of the injury I didn’t play as much as I would have liked last season so I saw it as a good opportunity to take a step back work on my fitness in order for me to move forwards in the future. I had a few offers from other teams this year but after talking to Goresy and seeing the team he was putting together I felt I have made the right choice.

482Days: You are coming in as an assistant coach to the team as well. How is the relationship between you and Paul Gore working so far?
RG: I’ve known Gorsey for along time, he has coached me before and he is a big reason I’m the player I am today. Its been going really well. He has been very open to any suggestions and ideas that I have put forwards. We had a few meeting to discuss ideas and strategies we would like to incorporate this season. and I’m really looking forward to working with him this season.

482Days: NIHL1 South has become increasingly competitive in the past few years. What do you think MK have to do to challenge the top 4 or so sides this season?
RG: I think that they have improved significantly on last season, with the acquisitions Gorsey has made over the summer. however I think consistency is going to be key for us this season. if we can manage that im sure we will surprise quite a few people.

482Days: We learned from Ross Bowers’ 10by10 piece that your nickname is ‘Sloth’ – how did that happen!?
RG: Michael Farn and Ross Bowers came up with the name about 8 years ago – apparently we couldn’t have two Ross’s on the same team and they thought I was so slow at doing things. They then saved ‘Sloth’ as my name in their phones and I’ve been called it ever since. I even have a sloth tattoo!

482Days: Who is the best player you have played with? 
RG: Played with – that would have to be Martti Jarventie. However Ross Bowers will be annoyed that I didn’t pick him.

482Days: And the best player you have played against
RG: Played against has to be Tobias Rieder. He plays for the Arizona coyotes in the NHL. I played aginst him twice at the 2010 and 2012 world championships.

482Days: What’s your proudest moment in hockey?
RG: Winning my first international game, Beating Hungary at the 2010 world championships in Poland and standing on the blue line singing the national anthem at the end of the game.

Posted in Players

September 11th, 2016 by Nancy Carpenter

Oxford City Stars havce brought in defensive young gun Ben Nethersell who will split his first senior season between the Stars and Swindon Wildcats in the EPL. I caught up with Ben recently and this is what he has to say about himself!


482Days: When did you start playing hockey and how did you get into the game?
BN: I started when I was about 6 years old. Some students who lived at our house took me skating in London and it just carried on from there.

Ben Nethersell(2)482Days: You’ve been at the Okanagan hockey school for the last 3 years – what was that experience like?
BN: It’s definitely been a life-changing experience. I’m really grateful to my parents for sending me there because it’s a big commitment from them, but I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t gone.  It meant I lived away from home since I was 14 which was good for life skills and developing me as a person and hopefully I can bring that into my game as well.
The school were very good, they let us out of the first set of morning classes every day so that we could have an early training session on the ice and then once most kids left for the day we would stay behind and make that lesson up – then we’d hit the gym for an hour after school – so it was pretty full on. They were also really flexible in terms of letting us have time off for GB.
Hockey-wise, I was on the ice almost every day and hopefully that’s something that won’t change too much this year. I’m on a 2-way with the (Swindon) Wildcats so I should be on the ice for training 3 times a week. It’s a little bit less than I did last year but I’ll hopefully still be in the gym every day and of course I should have 2 games most weekends across both teams.
It didn’t leave much time for a social life, but my social life was hockey!

482days: You wore the captain’s armband for your final year at Okanagan, and you wore an ‘A’ for GB last year – what’s the experience of that like in a very high-performing team?
BN: It was a learning curve and it really developed me in different ways as well. You learn to talk to different people in different ways. Some people in games get angry and some get quiet and you need to learn how to lead everyone.

482Days: Looking at your statistics in the U18’s – you seem to pick up a lot of points for a d-man (25+58 in just 35 league games). Do you consider yourself as an offensive-minded defender or was that just a role you played for that team?
BN: For that team, I did step up quite a lot! But for a d-man I think that is one of my strengths – I like playing offensively, I like joining the rush and hopefully I can bring that into my game this season.

Ben Nethersell(3)482Days: You’ve represented GB at U18 level for the last two years.  What was the experience like to represent your country?
BN: It was a different level. No-one can really prepare you for that! I mean I iced every day at Okanagan but it’s still completely different level to be playing every day as well as training and the standard of opposition is obviously higher. There’s nothing you can do to really prepare for it on or off the ice. This year I was assistant captain, which was a massive honour and I loved every minute of that as well.

482Days: Are you still pushing for a place in the U20’s team this year for the WC in Hungary?
BN: I made it through the first round of cuts and I have one more trial before they cut to the final team. I have kept pushing myself to stay fit this summer and I’ll get a couple of games under my belt before the final trial, and hopefully get myself there again. I don’t know how many D-men are left but everyone there is really good. So a lot will depend on what the coach is looking for and if you fit into what he wants from the team. We’ll have to see what happens.

482Days: You’ve already played some senior hockey over the last 2 years with games at both NIHL2 and EPL level. How does the level compare with junior A league?
BN: It’s different obviously – it’s more physical and the guys shoot the puck a lot harder. A lot of guys in the EPL want to be hockey players as a job, so it has a more competitive edge – compared to U18’s where for a lot of the kids it’s a bit of a hobby. I’m ready for this step up now – NIHL1 is a good level and I’ll have the EPL games to keep pushing me as well.

482Days: Do you need to mentally adjust your game depending on who you are playing for?
BN: No. I just try and be myself in every game. Even when I was playing at under-12’s I was the same. I was just trying to be as good as I could be. It doesn’t matter what situation – as long as you are focused on doing your bit.

482Days: What made you decide to join Oxford and NIHL1?
BN: I’ve heard a lot of good things. I spoke to Shane Moore who came here last year and he really enjoyed it. When Simon messaged me and told me what he had to offer, it was a good deal for me. Meeting the guys for the first time made it even more obvious that it was a good decision. It’s such a good group of guys and I think it is going to be a great year and hopefully we can also win some medals!
With 9 defenceman signed this year it’s going to be competitive for places – you aren’t going to take 9 d-men into a game! So it’s going to keep pushing me to make sure I’m not just in the team every week but to make the top 4 d-men spots. Of course sometimes I might get called up (to Wildcats) and someone will take my spot and I’ll have to push hard to win it back again. That can only be good for my development.

482Days: You’ve had your first training sessions with the Oxford team now, how are you fitting in?
BN: They are all really welcoming. I’ve never been in a team where everyone gets on like that – there’s always at least one guy… But here everyone clearly gets on really well – it’s great. I really enjoy coming to training, even though it’s like 10pm at night because of them.

482Days: Did you participate in the pre-season fitness testing with the team? How did you get on and did you get given anything to specifically work on/improve?
BN: I think I did pretty well and I’m pretty happy with all my scores and stuff. They did give us some sheets of things to work on in the season – but that was for everyone, I didn’t get anything extra specific to me. So I’ve been doing some of that over the summer and hopefully when we get re-tested I can do even better.
It was really good that the club did that for us. Obviously everyone needs to be fit for the season if we want to win (and to avoid injury). There’s not many teams that will be doing this continual assessment – even in EPL some teams don’t do this.

Ben Nethersell(1)482Days: You are on a 2-way contract with Swindon’s EPL team as well – how will that work, which team will have first choice on your time for games?
BN: Simon (Simon Anderson, Oxford coach) has first choice – no matter what. But he’s pretty understanding. He knows I want to play in both leagues and how important it is for my development. So I am hoping that he’ll be flexible and release me sometimes when it is not an important game here but I have a chance to get some time with Wildcats.
I’ll definitely be playing in the first three of the four warm-up games Swindon have. The last one clashes with training before our first game – so I won’t be playing in that as Simon wants me here at training. But playing in the other three, so it will be able to get going and bring that into our first big game here in Oxford.

482Days: What are your longer term hockey ambitions?
BN: Keep pushing myself and see how far I can get. I don’t have any specific ideas about where I want to end up but I want to keep pushing myself up the leagues and seeing how high I can get. I’d consider a move abroad if the right opportunity came up – but I don’t have any fixed ideas at the moment. I’ll see where hockey takes me. For now I want to concentrate on enjoying this year and playing as well as I can.

482Days: How would you describe yourself as a hockey player? 
BN: I’m definitely offensive-minded, but I think I’m a pretty well-rounded defenceman. The coaches I had at OHA taught me different things and I think I can play in all aspects of the game.

482Days: What do you consider the biggest strengths and weaknesses of your game to be?
BN: One of my strengths is my playmaking. I don’t expect to score goals every game but I’m good at picking out the pass and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t rack up some assists over the season.  A weakness is sometimes a lack of belief in myself – so I just need to learn to go for it really.

482Days: What has been the highlight of your hockey career so far?
BN: Probably winning a bronze medal at the World Championships with GB (2 seasons ago) – that was pretty special. It came down to the last game and a penalty shoot-out (against the Netherlands – and it took 8 rounds of shots to decide it!), so it was really such a good feeling to win that and take home a medal.

482Days: What are you most proud of in your hockey career so far?
BN: Probably being named as assistant captain for my country. Growing up, playing in Streatham, I never expected to be given the chance to help lead GB.

Posted in Players

August 31st, 2016 by Nancy Carpenter

Invicta Dynamos have put together a strong team this season, retaining the bulk of last season’s runner’s up side and adding a few new guys into the mix. One of these is Hull native Tommy Ralph who has played almost all of his hockey in the North East up till now. With stints in both the Elite league (98 appearances) and the EPL (48 appearances).

I caught up with Tommy a little while ago and this is what he had to say for himself!

482days: Let’s start with how you got in to playing ice hockey?
TR: When I was starting out the Humberside Seahawks were having a lot of success and with a few of my Dad’s friends playing for them, I got supplied with equipment easy enough to start out when I was around 5 years old.

TommyRalph_insert1482days: You got your first call up to the Elite league with Hull while you were still an U18 player, especially impressive for a d-man. What was the overall experience like?
TR: Yeah that’s right I was 16 when I first got a shot at the Elite League, and it was a 5-1 win away at Coventry Blaze. It was an unbelievable experience for me to be so young and be a part of that on my debut.

482days: Did you get many shifts did you get in those first few games in that season?
TR: I got fair ice time for what I brought to the team at that time, I was used sporadically but went out and did a job when called upon. It would be fair to say I was been protected a little bit, at 16 if I was getting a regular shift there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that – and at Elite League level it can be easy to have your confidence destroyed and that’s the last thing teams want when they are investing in players for the future.

482days: Did it make you hungry to continue to play at that level?
TR: Yeah definitely! I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at that point – I’d just finished my GCSE’s and was toying with the idea of an apprenticeship or going on to college but I decided after this to put all my focus into hockey and I don’t regret it as the Stingrays gave me the opportunity to go to University and now I’m running my own business back in Hull so everything worked out eventually, for now at least.

482days: You’ve actually played at all levels of hockey in recent years – with ice time in everything from NIHL2 to Elite league. How big is the difference between each of the leagues? Which is the biggest step up from one league to another in terms of quality from your perspective?
TR: I’ve always thought that in NIHL North there are quite a few players who are better than the standard they are playing at who could easily play EPL and even more so in the NIHL South but don’t for whatever reason; whether that’s a political thing or because most players work full time jobs alongside hockey and can’t commit to EPL, I don’t know. But it definitely makes the NIHL a better standard. For my money I’d have to say the biggest jump is to go from EPL to Elite League. It’s a totally different class, most teams are signing guys with experience in the NHL and AHL as opposed to the lesser leagues like they were a few years back. That’s definitely the biggest jump in standard by quite a margin.

482days: How would you best describe yourself as a hockey player? Does your style of play change a lot depending on the level of league you are playing in?
TR: I was moulded into a stay at home D-man from my time within the Stingrays organisation as that was my best chance to be an Elite league player. At the higher levels you have to specialise in something to make yourself stand out from the rest and that could be anything from been a penalty kill specialist to a fighter. I will continue to play the same way as I always have done but with a bit more freedom. I’d like to think I can contribute more offensively than I have in recent years.

TommyRalph_insert2482days: It’s a very long way from Hull to Gillingham – so what prompted such a major move?
TR: Well I’m only 22 and I wanted to try something new, talking with friends from back home who have moved away to play hockey and the reputation that the Dynamo’s have as an organisation made it an easy decision.

482days: Having only played in the North before, how much do you know about the leagues down south? What are your expectations for NIHL1 South? 
TR: From what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen from the NIHL South I don’t think it would be unfair to say that in regards to standard the league is not that far behind the EPL. I definitely think that the top 4 sides could compete with the EPL’s bottom 4 sides from last year. I’m hoping I can bring something different to help the team push on from 2nd place and clinch that top spot this year. It’s not going to be easy, the league is well balanced this year but I like our chances.

482days: What do you think you will bring to Invicta?
TR: Hopefully I can bring some experience I gained in the Elite League and EPL and it will rub off on my team mates and make us a better unit.

482days: You’ve been playing for Hull, who have had some tough seasons in recent years and moving to a club who will almost certainly be challenging for honours. Does that change your approach to the game?
TR: When I was at the Stingrays we were always a +500 team and challenging for the Gardiner Conference title, so I wouldn’t say we were struggling! In our final year we knocked Braehead out of the playoffs over two legs and got beaten 3-2 by Sheffield in the semi-finals controversially. If we could have gotten past Sheffield that year, and we would have if it wasn’t for some poor officiating, I truly believe we would have been playoff champions that year. As for my last year in Hull with the newly formed Pirates that was a struggle and honestly the least I have ever enjoyed playing hockey, but despite that I haven’t lost my desire to win so I believe I will fit in well at Invicta and with my team mates who all share that desire.

482days: Have you had a chance to start getting to know your Invicta team-mates yet? If yes, how are you fitting in?
TR: At the time of answering these questions I’ve got to know the owners, the coach and his friends and family and 3 team mates. I’ll meet up with the rest of the guys at training camp. But so far I think I’ve fit in well, and from what I can see there are a lot genuine and good people surrounding this club.

482days: Your still pretty young (only 22) for the amount of experience you already have on your hockey CV? Do you have any long-term hockey ambitions?TommyRalph_insert3
TR: I would like to keep building my CV up and win trophies with Invicta, I don’t really look further past what I’m doing at the moment, but long term I would love to have another shot at the Elite League before I retire into full time business life. I want to play as long as I can while I’m young and my body will let me.

482days: What’s your proudest moment in hockey?
TR: Either winning a junior national championship with Kingston juniors, my professional debut for Hull Stingrays, or beating Braehead in the quarter-finals of the playoffs when Carl Lauzon scored the winner in OT. Hull Arena erupted and I had goose bumps going nuts with my team mates when we won.

482days: What’s your favourite memory from hockey (if different from above)?
TR: Definitely the latter from the previous question. Beating Braehead in the playoffs.

482days: Who’s the best player you have played with?
TR: Too many to say one, I’ll answer an easier one, best goalie was Dave Brown by a large margin.

482days: And the best player you have played against?
Robby Sandrock for Belfast Giants was an excellent D-man.

482days: Any message for the Invicta fans ahead of your first game?
TR: Can’t wait to skate out at the Silverblades and soak up the atmosphere, if you do your job as our extra man, we’ll do ours for you. Looking forward to winning together!

Posted in Players

April 19th, 2016 by Nancy Carpenter

As I mentioned in Part 1 (which you can find HERE) – I asked some folks if they would like to contribute a few words or a story about Carrsy for an article I was doing… Turns out lots of people have lots of nice things they want to say about him!!  So I’ll stop writing now and let everyone else tell you about him!

To quote Joe Johnston “he hasn’t died and a lot of what has been said about him sound like obituaries but he’s been such a special person to a lot of us that it should be recognised.” (see below for the rest of what Joe has to say).

In no particular order…

Adam Wood (Streatham)
Carrsy…where to start?
So I took 3.5 years out of hockey while I was in university. I came back playing for my home team Cardiff in the 2013/14 season and things were going well. This lead me into the path of David Carr. Suddenly I had a pro hockey news columnist writing some pretty nice things about me. This continued until December when I left hockey AGAIN to go travelling. I returned at the end of August and the politics in Cardiff had really ramped up. I needed a change. I contacted Carrsy. We didn’t really know each other but he put me in touch with Warren Rost and put in a few good words as well. So Dave was certainly an integral piece to my arrival in Streatham.
Carrsy7 (icecoldphoto)However I didn’t know when I arrived how close I would become with a guy who is 11 years older than me. I love the guy! He knows the perfect times to be as childish as any of us. He has the best stories, they are always intriguing and hilarious – this may be aided by his accent.
We all love how northern he is, last summer, myself, Carrsy and Joe Johnston all went out down to Fulham on a boat from Westminster to watch Fulham v Crystal Palace. Granted it was a nice day but Dave managed to have the brightest, reddest t-shirt tan/burn ever. Which has stayed for almost a year.
I sat next to Dave this year in the changing room, thinking about it – I feel really privileged to have done so in his final season. We have had a tough season and Carrsy has been an absolute rock. Always there, always playing his part. I’m so glad that the countless hours he puts in for his club and for the league don’t go unnoticed.
There really is too much to say about him, but I think everyone’s words and recognition around the league following his retirement is a huge accolade.
A few weeks back I tweeted something with the words ‘one of my new found heroes’ about Dave. That was not to get ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ that was the truth. Dave Carr is an incredible team mate and friend and I’m just glad I get to call him those things….amongst others. All the best Carrsy.
PS you should all see him in training. He snipes for fun. So casual!

Lauren Newman (Streatham supporter)
David Carr is one of the loveliest people I have met whilst supporting Streatham, and that is saying something, as everyone is so friendly at the team. He went out of his way to make the fans happy and give them a wholesome experience, something my little cousins experienced after having won the signed stick competition at one of their first games. This has also been noticed on social media as he interacts with the fans on twitter as if they were his own friends. He has made the seasons of hockey that I have watched along with my family that little bit more special and is truly a favourite of our family.

Euan King (Chelmsford player)
Carrsy has done a great job not only with the marketing of Streatham but the league in general, his PHN weekly round up is fantastic and covers the fun and serious side of the game. I also think he has to take a ton of credit for where Streatham are now in terms of social media, fan base and marketing, I only wish other teams followed suit. I wish him all the best in retirement and I hope to continue to read the PHN on a Sunday night.

Carrsy10 (Pete Magnussen)Darren Elliott (Oxford)
So many memories but the best has to be from when my old man used to let him bring his two sausage dogs into the rink whilst we were training……only Carrsy would get away with that. A true character and was love and liked by everyone – many a memory of him and my dad messing around together and having great banter.

Joe Johnston (Streatham Captain)
I’ve had a long career and played with so many different players and Carrsy is one of my all-time favourite team-mates.  He’s a guy that you want to be around and brings so much to the team dynamic. He’s level headed and knows how to react in difficult situations and is fantastic in the dressing room.
To me he’s a great example to young players in how to be professional. His ice time has been limited in recent months and he never sulked or moaned once. His commitment levels never ceased and he continued to encourage and motivate the team as best he could.
Carrsy’s retirement marks hockey’s loss of one of its true good guys. He doesn’t take compliments well and never has but I hope he reads some of the tributes and realises what an impression he has made on so many people, especially his teammates.
He’s right, he hasn’t died and a lot of what has been said about him sound like obituaries but he’s been such a special person to a lot of us that it should be recognised. It has been an honour and a privilege to play alongside him and I will miss him immensely. To Streatham’s benefit Carrsy will still be around our team so we haven’t quite got rid of him just yet.
To close an emotional week may I start everyone off in a verse of his signature song (to the tune of the hymn Kumbaya): “Dave Dave Carr my lord, Dave Dave Carr…”

Jules and Brian Cliff (Streatham supporters and sponsors)
You know how much something means when a single goal at a Carrsy-MOTMgame against local rivals elicits the kind of response from the fans and players to the way ‘that’ goal did last year against Invicta. What a joyous moment. Elated Streatham fans cheering and Carrsy immediately surrounded by the team, all beaming, all thrilled. And simply because it was Carrsy, someone who personifies all that is brilliant about ice hockey in the NIHL. As Carrsy signs off from his playing career we genuinely hope that, as well as spending lots of quality time with his family, he remains passionate about hockey always. We are hoping for some more of those hilarious match night tweets he has become famous for and hope to see plenty of him both around the rink and in the pub next season at Streatham!

Danny Hughes (Bracknell)
I have never had the privilege to play on the same team as him but we have spoken a lot off the ice regarding teams, changes over the years and the odd pro hockey news article he does which is fantastic! I hope he carries on doing this!
Dave has always been a well-known and well liked player and person. Never in my life have I heard a player or fan have a bad word to say about him! Top guy to be involved in English ice hockey!
All the best in retirement Carrsy ! Best of luck to you and your family! Hughesy #37

Andy Cox (Oxford)
Pikey poo and ginsters….just about sums Carrsy up! Great bloke, loves hockey and we loved having him play at Oxford.

Rick Webb (Streatham Photographer)
Carrsy1 (Rick Webb)Dave’s work off-ice has been tireless, coaching some of the  youth teams between his writings, family life, travelling the globe extensively as  he does (I call him air miles Dave!) as well as on-ice training midweek  and often 2 games at weekends… Somewhere between all that  having to go to work for a living! I have no idea how he finds the time.
Dave has been a huge asset  to the Streatham  club, but also to ice hockey itself: promoting  the sport  almost single handedly and keeping the hockey community amused and informed. If he`d chosen football he may well have made some decent money as a  sports  journalist!
Dave may have hung up  his skates  for competitive ice hockey  games but will continue  to train ( & hopefully coach the  youth  teams  ) and hopefully won’t be  hanging up his writing pen  just yet.
Keep up the  good  work  big fella.

Joe Oliver (Oxford)
The man, the myth, the legend Carrsy aka Mr Ginsters! Best memories…well I actually thought he was sponsored by Ginsters when I first came into the Stars team as a junior. Also our little tournament/boozy lads getaway in France…great memories, great times, amazing guy!

Graham and Dawn D’Anger (Streatham Manager and Supporters Club Chair)
I’m so glad that Graham and I managed to persuade Carrsy to join us at streatham. It took a couple of yrs… But would like to thank him for all his hard work on and off the ice A great ambassador for the sport and wish him all the best in his retirement. Dawn and Graham x

Sean Scarborough (Streatham 2013-15)
I once had the privilege of getting my kit nicked out of Dave’s boot. When he called me, he said he just experienced the shock of his life and that my gear disappeared out of his car, like some Houdini trick. Dave doesn’t enjoy magic unless it involves multiplying sponges, so I knew this had to of really shook him. I never even had an opportunity to give him even a look of Carrsy11disapproval because within seconds we were cracking jokes and laughing about the whole scenario, even though I knew he was feeling a little bad. The top guy that he is though, took time off work (at a company he got me a job at!) to go to Lee Valley (with all the honest people), and find my bag.
He’ll probably blush reading all these stories, but as someone who got to see Carrsy as often as I did, it pains me not being able to meet him after work for drinks and encounter the randomness of the big smoke on a regular basis. I could tell stories about Dave for the rest of my life and we’ve only known each other for a couple years. More to the point though; no one cared more about the league than he did, the importance of a junior system at Streatham. You only need to look at his ice time and that should tell you everything you need to know about his dedication. We’re all so fortunate to have been spoiled by his presents to the league and all he did for it.

Jamie McIlroy (Streatham 2012-14)
Carrsy5 (Rick Webb)I had the pleasure of playing alongside Carrsy for two seasons. I can’t speak highly enough of him, as a player, coach and as a person. Regardless of the situation and whatever else he had going on in his own life he always had a smile on his face. He gives 100% in everything he does and the dedication he has shown to the sport is something to be admired. I literally do not know how he finds the hours to play, coach, write and be a family man.
One of the few individuals in the game that I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about, and fully understandable. The coverage he gives NIHL South, and British hockey as a whole, has raised the level of professionalism and made people sit up and pay attention. Everyone involved in the league owes him for the hours of selfless effort he puts in week in, week out. I’m honoured to have played alongside him and I wish him all the very best in all aspects of his life. Great team-mate and friend, who always seems to put everyone else before himself.

Carrsy6 (Rick Webb)Stephanie Reines (Streatham supporter)
Everyone knows about his passion, dedication, and tireless contributions to this sport and this league. But only my mom knows that he’s the guy who made sure I got home safely after drunken post-game pub nights. And mom knows best when she calls him a “Mensch.” (That’s Yiddish for a person of great integrity and character).
He’s the guy whose got your back when you need it. He’s the mentor, the inspirer, the helper, the subtly brilliant comedic writer. He’s the guy you always want in your corner. I have so much admiration and respect for him.

Ryan Giles (Streatham)
He’s one of the good guys. The game needs people like him and wouldn’t survive without it. The PHN media coverage has majorly raised awareness of the league. I think every single player, referee and fan reads Carrsy’s weekly update. It’s very professional while being informative and impartial, with a little bit of crap northern humour added in!
Carrsy-testimonialHe’s been a great servant to Streatham and he’s going to be a major loss. Although, I don’t think he’ll ever be far away (probably just the other side of the boards).
Personally, we’ve been travel buddies this year. I’ll genuinely miss our journeys in the black bullet (his VW Golf) listening to Magic FM and having a sing along. I can confirm he is actually quite a good singer and I’d compare his voice to a young Ronan Keating.
He’s a team guy who will do whatever is best for the team. There’s not enough of them about and it’s a shame to see him leaving the league.

Craig Newman (Streatham supporter)
Top man considering he is a mackem. Quality Twitter banter!

Grant Baxter (Invicta)
Always the first to say hello when you step on the ice and always congratulate you win: lose or draw (more wins for me!). A true gent of the game and he’s the only thing to look forward to on a Monday morning (to read that is).

Liam Chong (London)
I’ve never had the privilege to play with him and TBH I don’t know him too well. I played for 3 seasons in the EPL against his brother Adam and never even realised they were related! When I came back down to the NIHL, the times that I’ve played against him, he’s always been very respectful and seems to be respected by everyone around the whole league. My guess is because of his fantastic commitment to pro hockey news, even after long journeys away, he manages it. The times we’ve spoken, he’s always seemed like a genuine top bloke. And I will be a huge loss not having him around in the league next year.

Adam Carr (Brother)
Carrsy with AdamOne of my very first memories of hockey was in the old Cardiff rink, I was about 5/6 years old and Dave was playing in a tournament for Durham. Between games we were sat in the stands about 3 rows up from the ice, and for a reason I can’t remember now my big brother decided to kick me down the stairs and split my head open off the side of the boards! Maybe it was just an older brother thing to do or maybe he was trying to get me used to many cuts and injuries that were coming in my career.
Since then he has played a big part in my career, he has always been the one I have gone to for advice as I know his opinion is one I can trust. To find out what a player is like you just have to ask their team mates, and I know all them dont have a bad word to say about Dave. Not only is it his work on the ice but also off the ice with his coaching the kids and his write ups for the league which have given the league more coverage than it has ever had. It’s fair to say if there were more people who put as much effort into our sport as Dave does then the sport would be in a better shape.
Enjoy retirement Dave, although luckily I know you will be involved in hockey for a long time.
Your little brother.


Note that as well as using photos sent by some of the fantastic current league photographers, I also mercilessly raided Dave’s facebook photo archive (with his permission!). Where possible I have given credit but if I have used your photograph without credit and you would like credit added, just send me a message on twitter or facebook (to the 482days accounts) and I will add.

Posted in Players

April 19th, 2016 by Nancy Carpenter

On Sunday 10th April, Dave ‘Carrsy’ Carr said his final goodbye as a player to league hockey. It’s been a pretty emotional few days for the NIHL South hockey world as he is possibly one of the most respected and liked figures at this level – having not only made a lot of friends as a player, but also having massively helped to increase the profile of the game at this level with his regular column in Pro Hockey News.

For me, when I was starting 482days last summer, Carrsy was one of the first people I contacted. He has been an absolute font of knowledge and advice, not just in terms of who to contact for info and photos and such like, but also for general thoughts and encouragement. So since he would never dream of writing up his own retirement piece in Pro Hockey News, I decided that I’d have to do it instead!

Carrsy9 (Paul Foster)In this article we’ll look at the man himself, in terms of his hockey career, what he’s done for NIHL South in terms of his Pro Hockey News coverage and what the future holds. I did ask a couple of people for their thoughts so I could add some bits in from other people – but I was so inundated with people wanting to say nice things about him and tell me great stories, that instead we have a second article HERE with what everyone else wanted to say about him!

Carrsy started his hockey career at the tender age of 9 in the Carrsy 1991junior program at Durham. Back then Durham had one of the best junior programs in the country, as Carrsy recollects “so you only got a spot when you were good enough – I had a couple of years down the wobbly end and signed up with the Durham Stingers U12s. We didn’t lose a game for the first two seasons and were British champions. It;s been downhill from that point as I haven’t won much since!”.

His Durham team were even victorious on the other side of the Atlantic and raised a few eyebrows (and some headlines) when they won a Peewee (12 and under) tournament in Toronto. They were made headline news in the Toronto Star sports pages with “BRITONS BOMB WEST MALL TO CAPTURE DON MILLS TITLE” when they beat the West Mall Wolves in the final. Carrsy is pictured below with his team, including little brother Adam.     Carrsy-toronto

After Durham he finished his junior career at Sunderland which he really enjoyed “The rink had a swimming pool attached that had a slide and a wave machine. The rink also had a jukebox and a chip machine. Compared to Durham it was a modern paradise.” He made his senior debut for the Sunderland Chiefs at the age of 16 in the 95-96 season and then moved to Billingham Eagles the following year. “I signed for Billingham who were recently relegated from British Division 1 and going through a tough time. We had a lot of good players, but I got plenty of ice time on away games when the senior players couldn’t be bothered to travel so enjoyed trips to places like Swindon, Trafford and Solihull plus as a bonus I didn’t get my balls or eyebrows shaved by my team mates which was quite popular at the time for rookies. Nowadays everyone shaves their own balls. How times change!”.

That was it for hockey in the north of the country for Carrsy though as University took him south, although he missed a couple of seasons thanks to the lack of East-West trains in the UK: “I left the North to go to University in Bedford which on the map looked close to Milton Keynes. Trains are great going into London but not so much sideways so I missed a couple of seasons and the MK Kings missed out on a podgy Northerner with curtains.”

Carrsy-HaringeyA brief spell at Haringey Greyhounds followed in 2000 – the team had just been promoted to the EPL after winning the old ED1 the year before. It wasn’t a major success for him: “The team were not ready for the step up and we struggled. It wasn’t much fun to be honest so I quit after only a year. I then played rec and ended up skating more than I did playing league hockey, I loved everyone’s enthusiasm and was on the ice 4 sometimes 5 times a week playing with different teams at Ally Pally, Lee Valley and the Sobell Centre in Finsbury Park – the only rink you can watch girls work out in the aerobics gym upstairs whilst waiting for the next shift!. I got the buzz back and rejoined Haringey the following year for another season battling at the bottom of the EPL.”

Carrsy then bounced a bit between Haringey and Oxford withCarrsy-Oxford two spells at each club. When I asked what made him jump around like that he told me : “As Adele recently sang, I was young and it made me restless. There were good reasons to switch each time but as a general rule I signed where I felt wanted and felt I could most make a contribution. I absolutely loved my two periods at Oxford and it was only really the driving from London that made it a pain in the end. When my old Fiesta gave up on that incline on the southbound M40 it was a sign that my City Stars dream was done!”.

His final move was to Streatham Redskins – and that clearly stuck. With just over 200 games for the team across 7 seasons and wearing an ‘A’ on his chest for more than half of those, he clearly found the spot that was right for him. When I asked what made him stay when he got there – it was pretty clear it was a decision he never regretted: “The players, management and Carrsy with team (Rick Webb)supporters are genuinely some of the best people I have ever met. Why wouldn’t you want to spend time with people like that? If they weren’t, I wouldn’t have hung around. The hockey family is an over-used cliché in most cases but I felt like they all had my back from the minute I walked in the door. I have cried tears of laughter every season I have been in Streatham, which is good for the soul.  Secondly it’s the history. How many hockey clubs go back as far as 1932 that you can be part of such a legacy? Some players don’t care about things like that but maybe I am a little sentimental.” 

Carrsy - on net“When I first joined the club the old rink was falling apart and no one wanted to play for us. Reputation is everything in hockey unless you are paying big wages and I know we begged players to come but many wouldn’t. I think a lot of that was not all to do with the facility but more the perception of the club struggling and going through a rut. People like Barry Spours, Warren Rost and Graham D’Anger put in so much work to get the basics sorted and they laid the foundations for the rejuvenation of the club.

The new rink is a great asset to recruit players and the fans have somewhere nice to sit and watch the game. David Savage came to watch us play Cardiff earlier in the year and we had a big crowd in making lots of noise, and he signed the following week. Would we get someone as good as Savvy signing for us in the old rink after watching 150 people shivering on the balcony? I doubt it. He would have done well to survive the nachos from the old café to be honest.”

On his career as a whole, I asked if he had a ‘biggest highlight’ and if there had been any low points: “I don’t mind saying I have had a great time from start to finish. The highlights would be Carrsy - Oxford T&Gescaping relegation on the last game of the season in Slough, being man of the match in the last ever game at the old rink in Streatham and winning the Town v Gown in Oxford after some snotty American student spent the game dishing out the worst chirps of all time. As you can see, winners medal stories are in short supply! Low point would be tearing my ligaments in my foot in my first game for Streatham. Both physios said it was a bruise, the NHS A&E said it was a bruise… thankfully I have private health insurance with work and got it scanned the following week. 4 months of the season out with ‘a bruise’.”

As someone who has been writing about our league for so many years, I asked Carrsy what he thought about how the league had changed and what the biggest changes were for him: “The speed and quality of the players is completely different. The depth of talent on the top teams is unrecognisable from the old days, as is the quality of the goaltending. Players have filtered down to this level that wouldn’t have dreamed of playing in the league a few years ago, and it goes back to what I mentioned earlier about perception. It’s no longer simply the English Nightclub League and is now only one letter away from the NHL. That’s progress.”

Carrsy - coachCarrsy also puts a fair bit of his time into helping to coach the next generation of hockey players. He’s been a coach at Streatham junior club for four years at U14 to U18 level. This year he stepped back and chose to assist Adam Goldstone rather than taking a head coach role. “The junior programme at Streatham is improving year on year and its great to see. If I am honest the kids are great but the coaching can be frustrating. They play in the B league full of players with bad habits and its hard to be enthusiastic about the games especially because these habits often win games due to the low standard of hockey.” Will he continue coaching next season? “I will have a think over the summer about coaching and take things from there. I played for real hard-nosed coaches as a junior and times have changed, you can’t sellotape traffic cones to misbehaving kids helmets anymore for example!

Of course, in our league as well as his playing career, he is well known and well loved for his column in Pro Hockey News (his archive can be found HERE). As well as the weekly round-up, he also writes articles on individual players, coaches, teams and of course hosts the annual NIHL1 South end of season awards (voted on by the coaching staff and senior players of the 10 teams across the league). By my reckoning he has written an astounding 490 articles to date (also on a very selfish not I wish it were 8 less just for the serendipity it would have given us!).  That works out at an average of 70 per season in the 7 seasons he has been contributing to the online magazine.  Even more astounding perhaps, given his globe-trotting nature that often sees him in far flung places around the world, he has only writing his weekly round-up twice!

Carrsy4 (Rick Webb)“I started doing it because the media covering our league was nigh on non-existent and I thought that was a disgrace given the commitment the players and officials were putting in across the league. Pro Hockey News were looking for writers and I knew I could write, so I made it my mission to give the ENL/NIHL the coverage it deserved. Within weeks I had a pool of photographers sending in action shots and players messaging me information.

My motivation has always been to give the players and fans something to read every Monday morning that is original, interesting and if possible funny. I have done far less writing in the last two seasons than I had been doing previously, mainly because of time constraints. I will continue to write I am sure because I enjoy it. How often that will be I have to decide over the summer.”

After his final game, when Streatham bowed out of the playoffs following a semi-final loss to the all-conquering Chelmsford and ended with the Streatham players giving him a guard of honour off the ice, there was an out-flowing of what can only be described as ‘Carrsy-love” on social media. I asked him how that left him feeling – had he ever realised what an impact he had made on our league?

Carrsy - GoH montage (Rick Webb)

“Its left me feeling a little empty and more upset to be honest which is weird – I sat at my desk on Monday morning after reading a lot of them and felt that awful feeling in my stomach when something bad has happened. I cried in the handshakes at Chelmsford, held it together in the room and then burst into tears when I got home. The messages have been so lovely and its hard to take it all in. People have been so nice and some of the things written just set me off again. I think I have just been putting so much effort into promoting the club and the league with my writing and other stuff over the years that it comes as second nature, I didn’t realise how much people appreciated it and I cant thank everyone enough for the kind words they have written.”

“In truth, I haven’t enjoyed playing games for at least two seasons now with very rare exceptions, it’s no fun when you are struggling to do what your mind thinks you can, so stopping playing is the easy bit to accept and understand, but the camaraderie and being part Carrsy3 (Rick Webb)of the Streatham team is what I struggle to imagine living without. I always joke with Joe Johnston that I loved the bus to the Isle of Wight with the boys this year, loved the ferry trip, loved the banter in the room, found the warm up reasonably interesting, hated the game – win or loss, loved the post match banter, loved the takeaway (Codfather or Kebab shop) in Ryde and the journey home. I guess that sums up why the decision was made.”

What does the future hold for Carrsy then? He’s now a family man and has a young son. Will he become a hockey Dad? “Well he already has a Streatham jersey and a plastic retro Quebec Nordiques stick so yeah I am going to try and get him into it. I saw some bobsleigh skates the other day in Alexandra Palace and nearly bought them… I may go back soon and get them! The sport has given me so much joy and helped me meet so many great people so if he likes it I will encourage it.”

While he may be closing the curtain on his league career, Carrsy is not planning on hanging up his skates completely just yet. In fact – he’s just bought some new ones! When I asked if that meant that a lucky rec team would have a new power forward he said “I will be skating during the summer with the London Devils and then decide what to do after that. Safe to say that if I stop playing hockey altogether I will be a very depressed individual.”

So farewell to Carrsy the league player – but hopefully not to Carrsy as a figure around our league – it really wouldn’t be the same without you!


Note that as well as using photos sent by some of the fantastic current league photographers, I also mercilessly raided Dave’s facebook photo archive (with his permission!). Where possible I have given credit but if I have used your photograph without credit and you would like credit added, just send me a message on twitter or facebook (to the 482days accounts) and I will add.

Posted in Players

December 9th, 2015 by Nancy Carpenter

Oxford City Stars today announced that they had captured the signing of netminder Tom Annetts from Bracknell Bees.  Annetts is a player with a huge amount of EPL experience having played for the in that division for more than 10 seasons.

Annetts played his junior hockey at Bracknell and played his first senior hockey with Bracknell Hornets ENL team at the age of 15. As a 16 year old, he signed for Bracknell Bees in the BNL, while also playing U19 hockey before moving to the Guildford system where he played his final 2 years of junior hockey while also playing backup to the Flames. He stayed with the Flames for his first full senior year before moving teams to Slough in 2006, back to Bracknell in 2007, to Basingstoke in 2009 before returning to Bracknell for the third time in 2011 (all in EPL), where he has stayed since.

Annetts has an EPL Champion medal (Guildford 2005-06 season), an EPL playoff champion medal (Slough 2007-08) and also had the highest save percentage in the EPL in 2008-09 when at his second stint at Bracknell. His ice time at the Bees does appear to have gradually decreased over the last 4 seasons with him getting over 60% in the 2012/13 season to around 33% last season. This season, while Alex Mettam has had the nod to start more frequently, Annetts was still getting significant ice time and played in both of Bracknell’s double-header games against Sheffield last weekend.

For Oxford, this is a huge signing. Annetts is still acknowledged as an EPL quality netminder and at 28 should still be in his ‘prime’ years. He could make a huge impact on the Oxford team and give them the confidence to move past their disappointing performances of last weekend. This season the team has been very much on the up and will be pushing for a string mid-table finish (probably 5th or 6th) which will be a huge step up from narrowly avoiding relegation last season and shows their improvement and ambition.

So what does this mean for Oxford’s current netminder duo of Connor Ranby and Shannon Long? Well Oxford’s statement on the signing of Annetts also states that Ranby has been told he is ‘free to look for another club’ (i.e. released).

I’ll be honest, I find this a surprising decision. Of the two, I think Ranby is the better netminder and at only 20 years old, I think he has more potential to improve further. From what I have seen of the two young netties who started the season with Stars, I thought Ranby was simply better and certainly more consistent. Long was also guilty of a ‘moment of madness’ on more than one occasion – making a risky play, or losing his rag and getting chucked out of the game.

I do wonder if perhaps Ranby was less willing to play a back-up role, which is what I assume that Shannon Long will now be doing and that was the deciding factor here.  Whatever, I think he is an exciting young netminder and hope that he finds a berth in another team quickly as I think he has an exciting future ahead of him. Certainly his performance against Chelmsford Chieftains earlier in the season is one I will remember for a long time.

I look forward to seeing Tom on the ice, I’m guessing that Oxford fans who make the trip to Invicta this weekend will get a chance to see him in action there.

———————————————————————————————————————–

Update: 10-Dec-2015

I had a quick chat with Simon Anderson today about the singing and this is what he had to say:
“I’m delighted to capture someone of Toms calibre. It’s tough on a young guy like Connor,but I just felt this was a necessary move for our organisation. We are getting a guy in Tom,who is still a legitimate EPL goalie and I would not be doing my job correctly as a coach if i do not make moves to improve our roster when I can or have to.
We have a remit in place, as to where we have to finish in the league and it is my job to make sure that this is attained.If I have to make more moves,then that’s what I will do. It’s tough on Connor Ranby as he did not do anything wrong, but sometimes that’s hockey and we wish him well with his future career.”

 

 

Posted in Players

November 5th, 2015 by Nancy Carpenter

Oxford City Stars’ import forward, 25 year old Ondřej Pekárik from the Czech Republic, joined the team a few weeks ago but scheduling issues meant we have only recently had a chance to catch up with him. We finally did sit down and have a chat with him this week – here’s what he has to say about himself:

482 Days: Welcome to Oxford. You’ve been in the city for a few weeks now – how are you settling in?
Ondřej: Thanks for the welcome! I haven’t seen the city too much because I live in Kidlington and we have a lot of games. But what I have already seen was beautiful, I’m pretty sure that Oxford is a nice and clean city.

482 Days: Tell us a little about your hockey career prior to coming to the UK last season.  When did you start, what teams did you play for?
Ondřej: Well I started when I was 3 years old, and I have to say for that big thanks to my parents! I started to play in my born city Pribram then I move to Sparta Prague. When I still was a junior I moved to the Canada to play in OHL for Owen Sound Attack I also play as junior for National team as well. After Canada, I came back to Czech Republic to play in the highest level in Litvinov. I also spend time in the Ukraine professional league (PHL).

482 Days: You represented your country at U16 and U17 level, what was the experience like?
Ondřej: It was great.. I love to remember when we played in the youth Olympic games in Jaca (Spain). I had a lot of friends from the national team as well: Radko Gudas (Philadelphia Flyers) and Jan Kovář (current Czech international and playing in KHL) were my room-mates at the hotel.

482 Days: You were then drafted into the OHL for Owen Sound Attack.  How did you find the experience of going to a different country, having to speak a different language and playing in one of the most competitive junior leagues in the world – especially as you were only 17 at the time?
Ondřej: It was hard for me but it is just how life goes.. I see the chance there so I’ll try to take it. I never apologize to myself that I did that. I go there like a boy and came back as like a man.
482 Days: Did you enjoy your time over there?
Ondřej: Of course I did..! Obviously I missed my family, but Canada is very nice country and guys from the team were good friends too.

482 Days: You had 2 seasons out of the game recently. I understand you had an injury – can you tell us a little more about that and how it is feeling now?
Ondřej: It was so hard for me I spent a lot of time in injury and came back from injury.. I would get back to enjoying hockey and just get back to my level and then another injury came… But in this time I had a big support from my parents – they helped me a lot..!
482 Days: What injuries did you have?
Ondřej: Left shoulder 4 times, left ankle, right shoulder, left knee…
482 Days: Good lord! How does everything feel now?
Ondřej: Much better – I can say everything is ok but sometimes I can feel left shoulder… but it is nothing too bad and I can play with it.
482 Days: That’s good news!  So were the injuries why you moved teams a lot as a senior?
Ondřej: It was also playing for different teams in different levels.. It just sometimes happened  – and also Elite Prospect doesn’t always say the truth <grin>
482 Days: Really? What is not correct on Elite Prospects for you?
Ondřej: It misses out some games, including 2 games in Litvínov in Extraliga (top Czech division) – but who cares… Now I play for Stars and I have to give the Stars the best of me!

482 Days: You’ve been playing with the Stars team for a few weeks now.  What do you think so far and how are you finding the guys to work with?
Ondřej: First thing i want to say is we are ONE team, everybody is friends with everybody! The support from all guys to me and Boris is just amazing! They help to us as much they can. Same help we had from Simon and David as well. And on the ice…I believe we are in top 3 teams in this league for sure!

482 Days: In this league, teams are only allowed two ‘import’ players. As a result there are higher expectations on those they bring in.  Do you feel extra pressure on you because of this?
Ondřej: Not really. I know how I can help the team… And I’m old enough to know that if we win 5:0 and I don’t score or make any points, I will be more happy then if we lose 5:3 and I get a hat trick. I know they expect points from me, and I will try to do my best to get them! But first in my thoughts is the team’s points. Everybody in dressing room is thinking like that… That is so important.
482 Days: And what do you think you can you bring to the team to help push them up the league this season?
Ondřej: Like I already answered – points. But good face-offs and a smart game as well.

482 Days: So how would you describe yourself as a hockey player?
Ondřej: Good pass and smart game, I’m not scared to play a physical game. I also think that I’m not too bad in keeping the puck and protecting the puck.

482 Days: What do you think your biggest strengths and weaknesses are on the ice?
Ondřej: Strength is probably my head, like I said – smart game… Weakness? You will have to ask Simon for that!

482 Days: What has been your favourite moment so far in hockey?
Ondřej: Rookie camp at Los Angeles after my first season in OHL.

482 Days: And finally – what are you most proud of (hockey wise)?
Ondřej: Hockey… it’s hard to say – it’s just sport. I’m really proud of my parents because without them we can’t do this interview! But I guess I can be proud that I still play even after all the injuries.  I still love hockey and love the time be on ice and in dressing room with the guys.

482 Days: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I look forward to seeing more of you on the ice soon!  Good luck for the rest of the season.

Posted in Players

October 26th, 2015 by Nancy Carpenter

482days.come are delighted to announce that we will be providing personal sponsorship for Shane Moore during the 2015/16 season.

Shane joined the Stars in the summer as a marquee signing after playing over 500 games for Swindon Wildcats in the EPL.  He has already made an impact on Oxford’s defence with his calm and composed play on the ice and will certainly use his experience to good effect to benefit the team this season.

Nancy Carpenter, editor of 482days.com said “We were looking to help out one of the Oxford players this season and when Simon Anderson mentioned that Shane might be looking for some assistance with equipment costs, it was a no-brainer.  Shane is one of those players that is so good on and off the puck and I am sure he will have a huge impact on the team this season. I am delighted that we are able to help Shane with some of the expensive hockey equipment costs like replacing broken sticks.”

Shane is also a hockey writer himself with a column looking at Swindon Wildcats and the EPL in FLIC – the digital news website for Swindon and Wiltshire, and he may also contribute the odd article to 482days.com.  He had this to say about the sponsorship “I’m delighted to have the support of 482days for this season, hockey is an expensive sport and to have the financial burden eased is greatly appreciated. It’s fantastic to have the support of a well read publication, and I’m extremely grateful for the support this season”.

 

Posted in Players

October 24th, 2015 by Nancy Carpenter

27 year old Slovakian defenceman Boris Ružička joined the Stars recently and made an immediate impression on the team with big goals, big hits and smart passes. New to the UK, he answered some questions for us to give everyone a chance to get to know a little more about him.

482 Days: Welcome to Oxford Boris, how are you finding the city so far?
Boris: Thank you. I haven’t see much of the city yet but so far so good.

482 Days: Tell us a little about your hockey career prior to coming to the UK last season. When did you start, what teams did you play for?
Boris: I started training when I was 4 years old in my home town Trenčín. I played for junior club DUKLA TRENČÍN till I was 20 years old.  I hosted as a player in a few Slovak and Czech teams. Then I played 3 seasons in Romania.

482 Days: You have played most of your hockey in your native Slovakia so far, what made you decide to come to the UK and Oxford this season.
Boris: I got this opportunity so I was happy to take it. I want to see different places and I want to learn fluent English.

482 Days: How are you fitting in with the team so far?
Boris: I think I am fitting well. Everybody in the team are friendly and helpful. We are still getting to know each other and I think we are getting on very well.

482 Days: You’ve already played a couple of games for the team.  How are you finding the standard of hockey in the league?  How does it compare to the hockey you were playing in Slovakia last season?
Boris:  I would compare it to Slovakian second league. But Slovak hockey is faster and players play more combinations on the ice.

482 Days: Last season, Oxford had the highest number of goals scored against them of any team in the league.  What can you add to the defence that will ensure that they concede less goals this season?
Boris: Less penalties, better defence. More we play together, more we get to know each other and improve.

482 Days: You’ve had a goal in your opening 2 games for the Stars – both huge slap shots from the point.  Is that a trademark move from you? 
Boris: 🙂 I would like to keep this standard. One goal a game at least.

482 Days: How would you describe yourself as a hockey player?
Boris:  I play hockey all my life. I am an offensive defenceman with a good shot from the blue line. I am a very good passer and have a good understanding of the game. I am confident and I have the skills to succeed here. I am good team player and I will always do my best.

482 Days: What do you think your biggest strengths and weaknesses are on the ice?
Boris: My biggest strength is the snapshot from the first pass. My weakness, I hate to lose.

482 Days: What has been your favourite moment so far in hockey?
Boris: Wining the Slovakian champions league as a junior player for my home town.

482 Days: What are you most proud of?
Boris: I am also proud of my gold medal from wining the Slovakian champions league at U20 level.

482 Days: Any message for the Oxford fans?
Boris: Come to see the games. Me and my team will do our best to have a successful season.

Many thanks to Boris for taking the time to answer our questions – I know the Oxford fans are already impressed and looking forward to seeing more of him.

Posted in Players

October 14th, 2015 by Nancy Carpenter

Stars announced yesterday that Czech import Ondřej Pekárik had joined the club.

The 25 year old forward, originally from Pribram in the Czech Republic has spent the majority of his hockey career in his home country but has also had spells in Ukraine and Slovakia. The highlights of his career are from his junior days – where he represented his country at U16 and U17 level (sharing the ice with NHL player Thomas Vincour) before being selected as a 17 year old in round 1 (53rd overall) of the Canadian Hockey League import draft in 2007 which resulted in him playing for a season with OHL team Owen Sound Attack. To give some context, approximately 54% of current NHL players are alumni of the CHL (and over a third of these are from the OHL).

Pekárik only spent the one season in Canada, playing 48 games for Owen Sound Attack before he was released and returned home to play in the Czech U20 league. Mark Reeds, Owen Sound coach, said in an interview “Ondrej is a big, strong kid and in the system over there he didn’t have to forecheck or backcheck and just play. We needed a little bit more out of him and we weren’t getting what we needed which made him expendable.”*

Obviously these words aren’t great – but this was said about an 18 year old in probably the best junior hockey league in the world!  What we know since then is that he has played in the Czech 3rd and 4th division as well as in the Ukranian top division.  What may be concerning to Stars fans is the amount of hockey Pekárik has played in the last few years. He has not iced in the an accredited league for 2 seasons and since leaving Canada he has not played more than 21 games and no more than 16 games for a single team.

However, to have been drafted to the OHL and have represented a top nation like the Czech Republic as a junior, he is likely to be a player who could make a major impact in a league at the level of the NIHL. At 6’3”, he will add size to the squad and if he settles into the team well he could be a major asset. One thing is certain – this is a major punt by coach Simon Anderson. But then Simon has taken risks in the past that have proved very successful (Evan Mackintosh) as well as those which have been less so (Michal Tomasik), so here at 482 days, we will reserve judgement until we have had a chance to see Ondřej play.  If he lives up to his junior potential and beds down well with the team he could be amazing at this level, but if his games played are an indication of attitude problems then the team could see another import walk out after only a few games in the way that Tomasik did last season. Hopefully, having played a year in Canada, his English will be at a reasonable standard which should help with team integration and being able to express any issues he has on arrival. Only time will tell – but I do like the ambition that Simon and Oxford are showing with this signing.

Simon Anderson has this to say: “I’m excited to see what Ondrej can do for us. I appreciate some people may see this signing as a bit of a punt, with regards to his lack of playing time in the last few years. He has had an injury which he has needed to get sorted to enable him to play at the pro level and that’s what he has been getting right in the last couple of seasons. He is 25 years of age, he is hungry to get his pro career back on track and if we can get half the player he was when he was drafted and played in the OHL then we may have a player on our hands. I’m happy to give him that platform to show us and others what he can do.”

Oxford City Stars have said that Ondřej will train with the team tonight and be available in time for this weekend’s away double header against Bracknell and Milton Keynes.

*Sun Times, Owen Sound: Sept 27, 2008
http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2008/09/27/attack-storm-back-on-rangers

Pekárik’s statistics: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=14438

Posted in Players