Saturday, 29 August 2015

NIHL round-up

NIHL teams across the UK have been putting the finishing touches to their rosters ahead of next weekend's opening round of games.

Reigning D1N champions Blackburn Hawks have boosted their ranks with the signing of forward RJay Berra.

The Canadian moves to Lancashire after spending the last two seasons playing for Marian University in NCAA III. Hawks have also signed ex-Deeside Dragons forward Ben Simister.

Sheffield Spartans have added Czech import Martin Finkes to their defensive unit. Finkes previously played in Czech3 for LHK Jestřábi Prostějov and HC Valasske Mezirici.

Sutton Sting have confirmed five more returnees from last season with Richie Oliver, James Spurr, Shaun Ashton, Mark Turner and Zach Brown all signing for another year.

Stevie Adams (above) has agreed a further season with Solway Sharks, while netminder Kieran Hobbins has signed to give cover between the pipes. Sharks have also added Jamie Scott and Adam Robinson on a two-way deal with Belfast Junior Giants.

D2N title hopefuls Deeside Dragons have signed Owen Bennett from the EPL's Telford Tigers. Altrincham Aces have added Mason Howard and Tom Gilbert to their roster, Jay McFadyen has agreed a sixth season with Coventry Blaze and defenseman Elliot Cox has signed for Nottingham Lions.

Last year's D1S runners-up Invicta Dynamos have signed Latvian forward Eriks Ozollapa from Norwegian club Tønsberg Vikings. Former Dynamos junior Jarvis Mewett returns to Kent after spending the last three seasons with Lee Valley Lions.

Alex Whyte, Tom Mboya and Martyn Snape have agreed another season with MK Thunder, while young forward Ryan Coffey has also been added to the squad. Cardiff NIHL Devils have signed Jordan Jefferies and Owen Bradshaw.

In D2S, Slough Jets have confirmed a quartet of returnees with Jamie Milton, Simon Johnston, Josh Milton and Toby Curtis-Wyld all agreeing another season. Elis Sheppard has left Slough to join Cardiff Fire. Chris Deacon and Andrew Davies have also signed for the Welsh team.

Experienced defenseman Yousif Abu Saada has signed for Bristol Pitbulls after a year away from the game. Swindon NIHL Wildcats have added netminder Graeme Bird to their roster.

(Image permission: David Morrison)

Friday, 21 August 2015

NIHL round-up

Sheffield Spartans have confirmed the majority of last year's squad are back for another season in NIHL North Moralee D1.

Ollie Barron remains as captain, and he's joined on the roster by netminder Brandon Stones (left), prolific forward Stuart Brittle and new signing Mike Mawer, who switches from Sheffield Senators.

Spartans also hope to add at least one more new face ahead of the new season, with an import believed to be close to signing for the club. For full details about Spartans' line-up please click here.

Solway Sharks have pulled off a major coup with the signing of vastly experienced forward Martin Cingel.

The Slovakian moves to Dumfries after notching nearly 350 points in the Elite League for Edinburgh Capitals and Dundee Stars.

Sharks have also signed Stevie Balmer from NIHL1S outfit Wightlink Raiders, whilst youngsters Calum Hepburn, Kyle Johnston, Stuart Kerr, Tom Watson, Scott Henderson and Michael Corbett will ice with the senior squad as well as their own SNL and junior sides.

Blackburn Hawks have confirmed the signing of Finnish defenseman Kim Miettinen from Åmåls SK. Jordan Bannon and Dave Meikle also return for another season. Callum Bowley has joined Telford Tigers NIHL after spending four seasons with their EPL team. Whitley Warriors have added Joe Stamp and Stuart Tomlinson to their defensive unit.

Deeside Dragons have boosted their D2N title hopes after snapping up Slovakian forward Adrian Palak from Romania's Dunarea Galati. Paul Davies, Kenny Williams, Gav Austin and Aled Roberts are all back for another season, while Alex Parry returns after two years away from the game. Altrincham Aces have signed forward Ollie Bayne.

Blackburn Eagles have added another eight players to their roster including returnees James Riddoch, Joe Charlton and Tom Murphy. The Lancashire outfit also plan to add an import forward to their ranks.

Thomas Stuart-Dant has left Billingham Stars to join Cardiff Devils in NIHL1S. Chris Hart, Joey Morris, Lee Duance and Jack Randall have also been added to the roster. Invicta Dynamos have signed Josh Condren from London Raiders, while Elliott Dewey returns for another season.

Solent Devils have signed netminder Kevin McGurk from Oxford City Stars. Kyle Goddard and Paul Petts have also joined the club on two-way deals with Basingstoke Buffalo.

In D2S, Bristol Pitbulls have re-signed Jordan Smith and Jamie Newton. OHA graduate Logan Prince and Will Harrison have also joined the squad. Adam Harris has switched from Oxford to Slough Jets, while Timo Lindgren returns for another season at the Hangar. Haringey Racers have added Ian Shepherd and Lee Mercer to their roster.

Luke Takel, Jordan Powell and Robert Sedlak have signed for Cardiff Fire. Sean Richardson is back for another season with Wightlink Tigers. Ryan Turnbull, Kurt Tyrrell, Dan Murrells and Jake Bontoft have also joined the squad.

Friday, 7 August 2015

NIHL round-up

Netminder Dmitri Zimozdra has agreed another season with Sutton Sting.

Since joining the club in 2012 Zimozdra has established himself as one of the top stoppers in NIHL1 North, leading to rumours he was on the verge of a return to the EPL.

Sting co-owner Ian Johnson said he was delighted Zimozdra was back between the pipes next year.

"It was a massive and welcoming surprise that we've managed to keep Dima with us for another season," said Johnson. "He's put up some amazing performances which didn't go unnoticed by other teams, and being included in the Pro Hockey News NIHL All-Stars team was testament to his skill and work ethic."

Player/Coach Jon Ross added: "Getting it right at the back is every coach's priority, and although last year we didn't make the play-offs or take any silverware, Dima was a star in the net for us - he made it difficult for our opponents every time he iced."

Newly-promoted Solihull Barons have confirmed twelve of last year's D2 title-winning squad are back for another season at Hobs Moat Road, including Niklas Ottosson, Tom Soar, Rob Eley, Sam Hewitt and Josh Nicholls.

Telford Tigers NIHL have boosted their ranks by signing Dale White, Corey Goodison and Phillip Mulcachy from Coventry Blaze and Simon & Dan Harrison from the Barons. Callum Griffin and James Callagher also return for a further year.

Andy Finn, Cal Davies, Michael Elder, James Moss and Paul Windridge are all back for another season with Billingham Stars, whilst Solway Sharks have confirmed Marc Fowley, Duncan Speirs, Stuart Andrews, Iain Bowie and Aidan Fulton have agreed a further year in Dumfries.

Ex-Manchester Minotaurs duo Max Drakeley and Andy Dunn have joined Blackburn Hawks. Netminder Stuart Ashton and forward Matt Viney have also signed for another season.

D2N title favourites Deeside Dragons have confirmed Bryn Roberts, Steve Fellows, Simon Furnival, Mike Jones and Andy Chappell all return for another campaign.

Blackburn Eagles have snapped up Sam Dunford from Widnes Wild. Ex-Hawks defensemen Wayne & Carl Slater have also joined the club, along with returnees Nick Saxton and Dave Williams.

Tom Jackson, Chris Preston, Lee Kemp and Tom McDonald have been added to the Widnes roster. Luke Thomas and Tom Hovell have agreed a further year with Nottingham Lions. Altrincham Aces have added another seven players to their squad including Rhys Gillatt, John Murray and Joe Greaves.

Last year's NIHL1S runners-up Invicta Dynamos have signed Conor Redmond from D2 outfit Slough Jets. Brad Gutridge and Jack Lee also return for another season.

London Raiders have signed Slovakian forward Marek Nahlik from HKm Humenne. David Jackson, Robbie Vears and Mark Robinson have also been added to the roster.

Shane Moore has joined Oxford City Stars from the EPL's Swindon Wildcats. Nick, Joe & Josh Oliver, Joe Edwards and Dax Hedges are all back for a further year. Mitchell Murray has agreed a second season with Solent Devils.

In D2S, Haringey Racers have signed Josh Ealey-Newman on a two-way deal with Oxford. Matt Brown, Ross Sin-Hidge and Perry Whitlock also return for another year. Stas Prokofiev is back for a further season with Slough Jets.

Bristol Pitbulls have re-signed captain Tom Asprey and Dan Pettitt, whilst Wightlink Tigers Player/Coach Blair Dubyk, Nathan Webb and Adam Rich all return for another year.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

NIHL round-up

Solihull Barons have appointed Perry Doyle (left) as their new Director of Hockey Operations ahead of the upcoming NIHL1 North season.

The popular defenseman takes over at the helm following Darren Bellerby's decision to step down as Head Coach due to work commitments.

Barons have also confirmed Josh Bruce, Joe Henry, Tomas Janak and Ryan Selwood have all agreed another season at Hobs Moat Road.

GB U18 netminder Denis Bell has signed for a second year with Telford Tigers NIHL.

Brad Betteridge, Joe Aston and Josh Hustwick are amongst seven other players to agree a further season with the Tigers.

Craig Mitchell and Joe Coulter are back for another year with Solway Sharks, whilst netminder Mark Watson has agreed a fifth season in Billingham Stars' colours.

In D2N, Deeside Dragons have snapped up Filip Supa from Widnes Wild. Marc Lovell, James Parsons and Matt Compton all return for another campaign in North Wales.

Bobby Caunce has left Widnes to join Blackburn Eagles, whilst Jordan Ashington and Aaron Jordan have agreed another season the Lancashire club. Wild have boosted their ranks with the addition of Sheldon Cassidy.

Altrincham Aces have added Thomas Revesz, Aran Fox, Jorge El-Hage and Harry Greaves to their roster. Antti Kohvakka has agreed a seventh season with Coventry Blaze. James Lindley, Mark Morrison and Jacob Smith have also joined the squad.

Wightlink Raiders forward Corey Watkins and defenseman Nick Compton have agreed a fourth NIHL1S season with the club. Raiders have also signed Alex Sampford from Solent Devils and Matt Lawday from D2S outfit Basingstoke Buffalo.

Oxford City Stars have announced their two imports for the coming season, with Andrew Magee making the switch from Solent and Andrew Bates joining from Worcester State University, USA.

Defensemen Tom Avery, James Clarke, Sam Arnold and Jake Florey have all agreed a return to the Stars' roster, but Mason Wild has left the club to join Solent. Cam Barker, Ilya Antinov and Harvey Hind-Pitcher return for another year with Bracknell Hornets.

D2S title hopefuls Slough Jets have signed Richard Smith from Invicta Mustangs, whilst James Sanderson has agreed a third season at the Hangar.

Bristol Pitbulls have confirmed five more returnees, with Mike Hargreaves, Sam Shone, Tom Egerton, Phil Dibble and Matt Thornhill all returning for another year.

Alastair Band, Lee Hounslow, Mark Saunders, Ricky Mills and Ben Osborne have all agreed a further season with Haringey Racers. Luke Tull also joins the club from Wightlink Tigers. Cardiff Fire have tempted veteran forward Alan Armour out of retirement.

(Image permission: Keith & Jenny Davies)

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

NIHL round-up

Sutton Sting have announced a new coaching team ahead of the upcoming NIHL1 North season.

John Ross has been appointed as the club's new Player/Coach and he will be assisted by ex-Sheffield Scimitars forward Dean Smith.

Previous Head Coach Matt Darlow will oversee junior development.

Sting co-owner Ian Johnson said: "Last year was a real tough ask for Matt. We struggled with commitment, sometimes icing as few as ten players.

"The league is constantly getting better and we needed to make a few changes in the quest for improvement.

"John signed last year and did as well as expected after such a long time away from the game. One thing that stood out was his leadership skills and the respect he received from the lads.

"Dean has some major high level senior experience both as a player and a coach, and after supporting the senior team behind the scenes last term he jumped at the chance to be involved this season."

Johnson also confirmed that forward Slav Movko has agreed another season with the club. The Latvian missed a number of games last year due to work commitments and travel issues, but Sting have secured a new sponsor for Movko which will see him live and work in Sheffield.

Billingham Stars have signed Swedish forward Dennis Alexander Boström from Norwegian First Division side Narvik IK. Boström (above) previously iced for IF Björklöven and Tegs SK in Swedish Division One before joining Narvik and Stars' General Manager Allen Flavell is expecting big things from his new signing.

"This is great news for the club," said Flavell. "Dennis is a big physical forward with plenty of hockey experience behind him – he's looking to show the fans at Billingham what he can do.

"After a long stint in his home town of Umeå, Dennis decided to go to Norway for one year. Now he's keen to move on and he thinks England will be a good challenge and opportunity for him. He is looking forward to coming and can't wait for the season to start."

Stars have also confirmed James Flavell, Matty Campbell, Tom Keeley and Ben Davison all return for another season.

Forwards Ben Richards and Callum Watson and young blueliner Liam Smedley have all been added to Whitley Warriors roster for the forthcoming season. Aaron Davies and Tom King are back for another year with Blackburn Hawks.

Dan Croft, Karol Jets, James Smith and Macaulay Heywood have agreed another season with Telford Tigers NIHL, and forward Adam Taylor joins the roster whilst also remaining available for their EPL outfit.

In NIHL2N, Blackburn Eagles have signed Chris Jones from Deeside Dragons. Netminder Phil Crosby is back for his second year with the club. Matt Wainwright returns to the Dragons after a season with Widnes Wild.

Filip Supa and Pavel Vales have agreed another year with Wild. Michal Fico has also been added to the roster. Brian Worrall, Dan Berry and Philip Proudlove all return for another year with the newly-branded Altrincham Aces. Coventry Blaze have confirmed twelve players to their roster including returnees Dale Buckland, Lui Brindle and Luke Smith.

Last season's NIHL1S runners-up Invicta Dynamos have snapped up defenseman Michal Benadik. The Slovakian joins the Kent club after making over 120 Elite League appearances during two spells with Edinburgh Capitals. Dynamos have also added Steve Nightingale and Andrew Henderson to their ranks.

Streatham Redskins have signed David Wride from Bracknell Hornets and James Warman from D2S outfit Bristol Pitbulls. Evander Grinnell Parke, Liam Rasmussen and David Carr all return for another year. Stewart Tait has the Redksins to join the Hornets. Joining Tait in Bracknell will be Czech Republic defenseman Tomas Fojtik who returns to the ice after a year away from the game.

Sam Roberts has joined London Raiders from D2 club Haringey Racers, while Wightlink welcome back Bobby Streetley and Ben Paynter for another season. Harrison and Connor Goode have agreed a further year with MK Thunder.

Solent Devils quartet Jamie Fitzpatrick, George Norcliffe, Sam Rudkin and Christian Cole all return for another campaign. Devils have also signed young forward Alex Trendall. The ex-Wightlink winger returns to England following a season with Tampa Bay Juniors in the USPHL.

D2S title hopefuls Slough Jets have added Liam Underdown to their roster, while Bristol have agreed another year with Grant Richardson and Janne Virtanen.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

NIHL round-up

Sharks return for Senko
Solway Sharks have confirmed the signing of defenseman Juraj Senko for the NIHL1 North 2015/16 season.

The Slovakian returns to Dumfries after a year playing for Lokomotiv Fana IHK in Norway, where he notched an impressive 59 Points in 19 games.

Sharks have also signed netminder Craig Douglas from SNL club Kirkcaldy Kestrels, while Ross Murray, Struan Tonnar, Alan Crane and Stevie Moore return for another year. Richard Bentham has left the club to join Blackburn Hawks.

Canadian import forward Andre Payette has signed for Whitley Warriors. Payette has a wealth of Elite League and EPL experience for a number of top UK teams including Newcastle Vipers, Manchester Phoenix and Sheffield Steeldogs. Jordan Barnes, Alex Lawson and Martin Crammond have all agreed another season at Hillheads.

Billingham Stars have announced six returnees from last year's roster, with Andy Munroe, Chris Sykes, Scott Ward, Jamie Pattison, Luke Brown and Jack Davies all back for another season. Defenseman Matt Sellers also returns to the fold after three years away from the game.

In D2N Kieran Strangeway, Ben Brown and Josh Benstead have agreed a further year with Widnes Wild, while Robyn Crebbin has been confirmed as Head Coach of the newly-branded Altrincham Aces.

NIHL1 South champions Chelmsford Chieftains have signed Czech defenseman Lukas Zatopek for his second season at the Riverside. Bailey Wootton has rejoined Invicta Dynamos after a spell with London Raiders, while Nicky Lewis and Harrison Lillis have both agreed a further year with the club.

Frankie Harvey has returned to London after spending part of last term with Invicta. Raiders have also confirmed Liam Chong and Jack Cooper are back for another year.

Streatham Redskins' trio Robbie Brown, Adam Wood and Will Sanderson have agreed another season, while Michael Ranby switches to the club from Chelmsford. Dan Rose and Jordan Gregory have joined Wightlink Raiders from Bracknell Hornets, while Craig Tribe and Chris Cooke return for another year with the islanders.

Hornets have confirmed the signing of experienced Canadian forward Greg Chambers. Slovakian Peter Jasik has agreed another season with the club along with blueliners Luke Reynolds and Matt Jordan. Hornets have also added Danny House, Brandon Miles and Josh Martin to their roster.

Oxford City Stars have signed Steve Osman from D2S outfit Bristol Pitbulls. Stars have also snapped up netminder Connor Ranby from Coventry Blaze. MK Thunder forwards Josh Nicklin and Thomas Castle are back for another year, along with the vastly experienced defenseman Simon Howard.

Cardiff NIHL1 captain Chris has agreed another campaign with the club, while Solent Devils forward Alex Sampford returns for a second season.

In D2S Josh & Zach Dolphin, John Dibble, Chris Moore and Josh Galea all return for another year with Bristol.

(Image permission: David Morrison)

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

NIHL round-up

It's been another busy couple of weeks for player signings and transfers in NIHL1 South.

Reigning play-off champions Wightlink Raiders have confirmed top import Jaroslav Cesky has agreed a second season with the club, while promising defenseman Brendan Baird moves to the island after a year in the EPL with Basingstoke Bison.

Streatham Resdkins have signed blueliner Ryan Giles from Chelmsford Chieftains, while Joe Johnston and Joe Allen return for another season.

Danny Hammond, James Ayling and Sean Barry are all back for a further year with the Cheiftains, but young forward Bailey Chittock has joined London Raiders.

Mason Webster also makes the switch to London from the EPL's Peterborough Phantoms along with Sebastian Downing from D2S outfit Chelmsford Warriors, while netminder Michael Gray is back for another season. Jacob Ranson has left the club to sign for Invicta Dynamos.

Bracknell Hornets have confirmed a trio of returnees, with Tom Fisher, Ryan Handisides and Mark Duffy all back for another campaign. Danny Milton has also moved to the Hornets after an impressive season in D2S with Slough Jets.

Stephen Gosset, Alex Cole and Shaun Rudkin have agreed another season with Solent Devils, while Alan Green, Andy Cox, Josh Florey and Mike Whillock are back for a further year with Oxford City Stars.

NIHL1N champions Blackburn Hawks have confirmed Adam Brittle will return for his third season with the club. Billingham Stars duo Michael Bowman (above) and Richie Thornton are back for another year with the Teessiders. Dan Pye, Josh Maddock and Callum Queenan have all agreed a further season with Whitley Warriors.

In D2N, Widnes Wild have confirmed Matt Wainwright is back for his second season, while forward Chris Gee has also been added to the roster. Gee returns to the UK after spending a year in Canada playing for Da Byes in the Calgary Men's Hockey Association League.

(Image permission: Dean Reeve)

Friday, 5 June 2015

NIHL round-up

Reigning NIHL1 South champions Chelmsford Chieftains have added six more players to their roster ahead of the 2015/16 season.

Ross Brears, Alex Staples and Cameron Bartlett all return for another year, while netminders Ben Clements and Euan King have also agreed a further season at the Riverside.

Grant Bartlett has rejoined the squad after recovering from the injury that kept him sidelined for the whole of the last campaign.

Streatham Redskins have added experienced EPL forwards Nicky Chinn and Chris Wiggins from Basingstoke Bison and MK Lightning respectively. Dom Hopkins is back for his fourth year with the club.

Mark McGill and Adam McNicoll have both agreed a further season with Invicta Dynamos, while Wightlink Raiders have snapped up promising GB U18 forward Danny Ingoldsby. Ryan Webb has also signed for a second season with the Isle of Wight outfit.

Alan Lack has agreed another year with London Raiders, while Slovakian forward Michal Oravec switches to the capital from Invicta.

Solent Devils Player/Coach Alex Murray has added the first two players to his roster, signing Richard Facey from Wightlink and agreeing a further year with Ben Lock.

Whitley Warriors have been the most active NIHL1N club, adding nine more players to their squad including DJ Good, Dean Holland, Jamie Tinsley and Harry Harley. Shaun Kippin is also back in a Warriors shirt after a year away from the game through injury. Chris Arnone has agreed another season with Blackburn Hawks.

In NIHL2N, Widnes Wild have confirmed Ken Armstrong, Geoff Wigglesworth and George Crawshaw to their roster.

(Image permission: Chris Turner)

Friday, 22 May 2015

NIHL round-up

The NIHL 2015/16 season is still over three months away, but a number of teams have already begun to assemble their rosters.

Whitley Warriors have confirmed the biggest news in D1 North, appointing ex-Guildford Flames boss David Longstaff (left) as their new Player/Coach.

Dan MacKriel has replaced Jared Owen as Blackburn Hawks Player/Coach, with netminder Daniel Brittle continuing as assistant.

Scott McKenzie has left EPL champions Telford Tigers to take over at Widnes Wild.

The D2 outfit have also confirmed Greg Ruxton, Calum Ruddick, Shaun Dippnall and Daniel Bullock have all agreed another season with the club.

Reigning D1 South champions Chelmsford Chieftains have been the busiest club so far, adding seven players to their roster.

John Connolly returns to Essex after a spell in the EPL with MK Lightning, while Juraj Huska and Anthony Leone join from Invicta Dynamos. Matt France switches to the Riverside from London Raiders and Julian Smith, Darren Brown & Matt Turner are all back for a further year.

Wightlink Raiders have secured netminding duo Matt Colclough and Shannon Long for another campaign. David Oliver is back for another year with London and Thomas Davis has agreed a sixth season with the club.

MK Thunder have snapped up Ross Bowers from the EPL’s MK Lightning, while Jamie Line and Damien King have both re-signed. Drew Campbell has left Solent Devils to sign for former club Haringey Racers in D2 South.

(Image permission: Chirs Turner)