Photo: 5 Hole photography
Streatham Redskins are a steadily improving team in the last few season, finishing 2 places better than the season before for the last 3 years and exceeding most fans’ expectations last season by taking third place in an increasingly competitive league.
This season they have already thrown down a major marker to the other clubs by announcing the signings of Nicky Chinn (Basingstoke) and Chris Wiggins (Milton Keynes) from the EPL. Both players are seen as incredibly solid signings and are probably the two that have generated the most pre-season excitement and gossip amongst league fans so far. There will be more to come on Wiggins in a separate article – but let’s reflect on one of the greats of the British game to start with…
Nicky Chinn, now 42, announced his retirement from hockey at the end of April this season, but was quickly enticed back by Streatham coach Warren Rost for a last swansong in the league, as well as the opportunity to join the coaching team. In the press release announcing his signing1, Nicky said “It is a great opportunity for me to get involved in the coaching side of the game and a chance to give something back to British hockey”.
Last season’s Basingstoke captain has had a remarkable career since he burst onto the scene as a 16-year old in Cardiff and went straight into the Cardiff Devils team, playing in the BD1 (2nd tier) league and gained promotion with the team at the end of the season. He stayed at Cardiff playing at the top level in the UK for a further 6 seasons and also gained his first GB caps at U20 level and then as a senior, winning GB player of the tournament at the 1994 world championships. He continued to play at the very top level and had the distinction of being one of the few British trained players competing in the British Superleague in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Across his gobsmacking 27 years in the senior game he has amassed medals as a Superleague champion (2), BNL champion, EPL cup champion, EPL playoff champion and has played in around 1400 games, scoring 1441 points and receiving 3292 PIMs2. He was also the first player to score 4 goals in a British Championship final (1994)3.
So what will Streatham be getting with this signing. Chinn in his younger years was known for his speedy and physical play and has been described as a “rock’em, sock’em player”. While at 42, these may no longer be his trademarks, but he is a known leader within the teams he has played in. His passing is still absolutely top notch and at this level where the pace is just a little slower and he’ll have that extra split second of time (compared to EPL), I can see him amassing a lot of assists as well as a fair few goals thanks to this attribute. He’ll certainly add a hell of a lot of experience and knowledge to the team and I suspect will be a very influential player on and off the ice.
Warren Rost certainly believes this is the case. He said about Chinn: “Chinny is an all-round talent who is simply one of the best players of his generation, but all that talent and toughness would be of limited use to us if he couldn’t communicate all of this experience to his teammates. This is his greatest quality, how well he communicates and motivates those around him, and he is going to be a tremendous asset to the club moving into the future.”1