Making Headlines

Dressed in White

Steeldogs take


Sheffield’s Saturday Night Fever in Swindon!
British Hockey Is back! Yes, that’s right our weekends are back
for the next 6 weeks with the NIHL Streaming Series Spring
Cup!!! So, what does this mean?
Following the success of the Autumn series the Autumn Series
Winners Sheffield Steeldogs and Autumn Series Runners Up
Swindon Wildcats are now joined by the Bracknell Bees,
Romford Raiders and Telford Tigers. With the Planet Ice
facilities around the country having their ice taken up Milton
Keynes Lightning, Peterborough Phantoms, Basingstoke Bison
are not part of this tournament which is a shame as both the
Autumn Series and Spring Cup are seen as the stepping
stones to getting league action back on track for England.
With current GB players Ben Davies, Josh Batch, Matt Myers joining Swindon and Ben O’Connor, Ben
Lake joining Steeldogs for the Autumn cup. The NIHL Series became one of the hottest prospects for
the British EIHL players. Swindon Welcomed home Nottingham Panthers’ Jordan Kelsall as well as
Jordan Marr backing up Brother Renny in between the Pipes for Aaron Nell’s side.
Sheffield eager to keep up their winnings ways after sealing the Spring Cup tourny well and truly
brought out the big guns - their top line featuring Steelers Captain Jonathon Phillips, Steelers
defenceman Davey Phillips (no relation…just a happy coincidence), Giants’ Ben Lake, Jason Hewitt
and Liam Kirk. I think seeing Ben Davies go head to head on the face off dot against Jono Phillips is
worth the £12 alone! Type in the GB France goal from Slovakia and you’ll see what I mean ��.
Saturday 13 th ticked around and at the Swindon Link Centre both teams lined up for the National
Anthem, with 1930 edging closer it was hockey night in Wiltshire. The pace was dictated in the
opening couple of minutes with both Swindon and Steeldogs getting some very early chances but
both teams having different tactics Dogs taking a much more offensive option compared the Cats
who capitalised on loose pucks and breakaways. This was a game that was waiting for goals and it
didn’t take too long for the teams to get one. Unfortunately for Aaron Nell it was Steeldogs’ with a
shorthanded goal from Liam Kirk who snuck it past Renny on the far post assisted by Ben Lake and
Ben O’ Connor within the opening 2 mins.
Like we saw in the Autumn series, and in seasons past Swindon are not a team to be taken lightly
with a narrow goal margin. The Wildcats although lost the initial face off were able to quickly
regroup and start to push back against the Steeldogs. Captain Bullas being the ever-present threat in
the shooting lanes with Toms Rutkis able to generate plays from the centre ice meant that the Dogs
had to keep the Cats in check. D man Tyler Plews a visible presence on the blue line made sure that
the Cats could rely on the puck being kept in the zone. But a mismanaged shift change gave the
‘Dogs the opportunity to take the play back to the Cats defensive zone with Jono Phillips taking the
shot but unable to convert due to Renny closing the angle down on the GB Captain. Shortly after the
Cats went on a powerplay then a 5 on 3 after Jono was sent into the Bin at 12:50.
Looking to address the goal line, Cats then went on a flurry – only to be countered by savvy plays

from the dogs including shots being blocked by veteran Forward Craig Elliot and Nell being denied by
the Goal post. Despite their chances the ‘Cats were unable to convert any of their shots on goal, with
the penalties elapsing and the Dogs back at full strength the Yorkshire side nearly made it 2-0 from
Alex Graham, being denied at the last moment by Renny Marr who managed to stop the puck from
creeping over the line!
Back to the action and it was Swindon’s Matt Myers who nearly made it coast to coast with a one
man charge against the Steeldogs, with the saves coming thick and fast it was the Dogs who took it
back down the length of the ice back down to the Ctas defensive zone. However, with some skilful
marking of key players Cats were able to break out with Malaszinski after a 1 on 2 he was forced
behind net, passing to Myers who passed the puck to a waiting Nell who buried the puck at the near-
post drawing the scores level with 6 mins left of the period. The scores remained 1 all until the end
of the period with the only notable event being a
penalty being called on Swindon with 48 seconds
left on the clock.
With the Match night Reporter grabbing an
interview with Liam Kirk, Kirky gave his verdict on
the game so far: “The play was really good, great
tempo to the game with both sides I think we
(Steeldogs) were outshot in this period.” He then
added that “I am looking to use this tournament to
keep my development up and to take this back to
the OHL later in the year. This is due to the NHL
entry contract being dependant on me performing
well at that level”.
With the second period looming Aaron Nell lined up his PK unit of Myers, Kelsall, Batch and
Malaszinski – a unit which can control the play coupled with offensive firepower that some teams
can only dream of; however, it was the dogs with the man advantage took the initiative – parking
themselves in the Cats defensive zone. The cats were able to pass the puck to a waiting Josh Batch
who cleared it from the zone, being picked up by Aaron Nell in the dogs’ zone who duly converted
his chance taking the puck off the wall making it 2-1 to Cats at 20:40! Again, the period had lots of
chances for both sides, Ben Davies going on 1on 1 and Davey Phillips trying his luck with a bouncing
shot from the blue line but none of them could convert them with the skills that were on display.
With big body blocks from outfield players (both forwards and defenceman) this was a very different
game to the previous Autumn series – like the commentator said it looked more like a Cup final
game rather than a mid-season fixture! Just like the first period both teams were itching to get on
the scoreboards, however just like the first period the goal came from a broken Swindon Play with a
Kelsall shot being denied, it was Liam Kirk who gave the Dogs the equalizer goal assisted by Davey
Phillips (2-2). Things got slightly worse for the Cats as a high stick call on Nell meant they were back
on the PK, Kelsall again trying to get on the scoreboard was denied by Zimzodra. Back to the other
end of the rink Ben O’Connor was denied by Marr’s cross bar, Cats were briefly back to full strength
but then on a too many men call with a poor shift change.
The period also saw the first piece of Puck luck for the Cats, Dogs saw a goal waved off by the
referee and Marr denying the dogs twice in quick succession with both a rebound and a glove save
from a Ben O’Connor slapshot. With the Cats seeing their chance they were able to move quickly

past the dogs forward line, taking their place in the dog defensive zone the cats were able to cycle
the puck trying to find a hole in the dogs’ defence. Tyler Plews keeping the Cats in play stopping the
puck with one hand on his stick was a highlight! However, the Cats couldn’t convert and were soon
on the back check back in their zone, Hewitt firing an absolute laser over the Crossbar and Marr
again pulling out highlight reel saves one after the other with only and icing call stopping the play.
Despite the ‘Dogs efforts the Cats were able to keep the scores at 3-2 closing the period in their own
With the match night host interviewing Swindon’s Captain Sam Bullas, Bullas remarked that;
“It’s a great game so far with the GB and Elite teams, the pace is fast and has a great tempo.”
“I think it’s great that we have our younger players playing with some of the GB National team, time
spent playing alongside players like Ben Davies, Jono Phillips and players that I consider heroes Matt
Myers and Davey Phillips is a fantastic opportunity.”
“Considering that we have only had 1 and a half’s week of ice is even more remarkable, I know a lot
of players without Ice and I think that we are very lucky here in Swindon with the organisation”
With the score line at 2-2 and neither side giving an inch, everyone tuned into the stream were in for
a treat. Although the dogs won the opening face off it was the Cats who were able to get the first
shot of the period, however a rebound save picked up by Hewitt meant that the dogs were able to
return the favour driving deep into the Cats zone. After a testing shot by Davey Phillips followed by a
Dogs’ icing call it was young Liam Kirk who as able to get his hattrick goal with a tight angle beating
Marr at the far post (3-2). Back at the dot and chances from Nell and Malaszinski denied again by the
dogs, another chance came in from a long pass by Goodchild but Kelsall being offside meant it was
back to square one for the Cats. Bullas again leading the charge way into the Dogs shooting zone
meant that the Steeldogs couldn’t rest on the score line, Alex Graham again went on the attack but
looked to over stick handle with pressure put on by Marr and his D men. After some scrappy play
from both sides it was Dog’s who went ahead with another Kirk goal a carbon copy of his first and
second of the night beating Marr at the far post with Jono Phillips assist (4-2).
Wildcats responded with a goal late on the period coming in from Aaron Nell with 0230 left in the
period (4-3), looking to build on this and following a ‘Cats timeout Renny Marr was pulled for an
extra skater for the face off. After a number of attempts to start the play the Cat’s and Dogs fought
in the shooting lanes of the Dogs’ net, with the shout going just wide of the Cats’ goal and an icing
call – the play was restarted and the puck broke free and landed on Ben O’Connor’s stick – the GB D
man duly adding the fifth and final Dog’s goal of the night (5-3).
With just over 70secs left on the clock, the cats went all out
– Toms Rutkis picking up the puck at centre ice diving in
between the two Dogs defenceman and firing an absolute
laser past the Dogs’ Netminder making it 4-5 to Swindon.
The action didn’t relent in the last-minute double saves from
both netminders meant that both teams were not counting
down until the final whistle…and to think this is the first
game of the Series!!!
Final Score: Swindon Wildcats 4 – Sheffield Steeldogs 5
Man of the Match: Swindon: Renny Marr Steeldogs: Liam


Graz99ers win without Bowns!

By Mark Miggy

Match report 8th November 2020

Location: Merkur Eisstadion, Graz in Austria.

Teams: Graz 99ers against Villacher SV

VSV play 500th league game as they outshoot but lose to a strong Graz side as they jump up to top of the table.

A late Sunday evening at the Merkur Eisstadion in Graz saw a fun and goal entertaining contest in the ICE Hockey League.

The goals started on 09:01 with #9 Parker Mackay feeding #91 Oliver Setzinger who then provides assist to NHL/AHL forward #27 Michael Rasmussen, flicking a wrist shot from the right hand face off zone and into the bottom left corner of the next. Not long after he finds himself with a 10 minute misconduct following an altercation with a Villacher player following a questionable hit in the corner. The arm was raised by the official previously from a tripping penalty from #22 Hunter Fejes from the guys in the bright orange and black.

The second for the 99ers followed up at 11:53 as #71 Erik Kirchschläger fires into a screened net caused by Mackay. The goal is reviewed by the officials for goalie interference but correctly given. Goal assisted by #54 Tony Camaranesi and #22 Hunter Fejes.

The first period saw Villacher outshoot the hosts 14:10.

Graz 99ers 2-0 Villacher SV

Second Period

As expected the Villacher side came out racing looking for a chance to narrow the lead but the 99ers up the physicality and finishing their checks.

The GWG was actually scored at 36:01 In a period of the game that saw both sides creating opportunities. With #27 Michael Rasmussen back on the ice after serving a long misconduct penalty, he drives a long pass from the D zone to mid neutral ice where # Kevin Moderer quickly finds #26 Dominik Grafenthin who races in in the left of the crease and snipes top right hand corner over the shoulder of the helpless #37 Gudlevskis Kristers.

To say VSV are playing poor would be unfair as Graz are just looking lethal on the offence. 

The period didn’t end there though, a tripping call on #71 Kevin Moderer gifted Villacher the opportunity to bag a goal 5 seconds before the buzzer.

The luck came as ex NHLer  #67 Jordan Caron passes to #44 Jamie Fraser setting up teammate #62 Patrick Bjorkstrand for his first goal of the season. A power play goal. Making no mistake from the right hand side of the slot.

Period 2 over and still Villacher are outshooting Graz 32:18 and down 3-1.

So into the third period we go.

Graz applying some early offensive pressure and testing #37 in the Villach net. Nothing too testing until 43:40 as guess who!? #27 Michael Rasmussen gets the tip on a #77 Philipp Lindner shot and slides between the legs of the netminder.

Again the game was evenly matched with VSV creating chances but nothing clear. #31 Olivier Rodrigue shutting out anything his way. 

A chance at 47:28 saw some dazzling display from #66 Adis Alagic as he danced through the traffic but unfortunately for him and his team it fell to the mercy of the Villacher stopper.

Graz again much more effective on the offence with Villach fighting hard to create chances, it just seems like one of those nights. 

At 4-1 the game is almost over but like in similar style VSV bag a goal with their second of the night to soften the blow. With just 18 seconds left #29 Sahir Gill to #13 Chris Collins leaving #33 Martin Ulmer with a mid right wrister finish past the 99ers goalie.

The game finished Graz 99ers 4-2 Villacher SV

Shots on goal 28-41

Power plays 0 Graz and 1/4 VSV


National Division's Streaming Experiment

By Dan Breen

Late last week it was announced that the three teams from the NIHL Nation Division would begin an experimental approach to restarting games in the United Kingdom.

Following work by the EIHA to have the second tier of British Hockey classified as at Elite Level following the decision of the EIHL not to run the league for the season, three teams – Swindon Wildcats,Sheffield Steeldogs and Milton Keynes Lightning completed the steps required by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – DCMS to gain the required accreditation to train and potentially compete as normal.
As these games would need to be played behind closed doors, even before this week's announcement of a
new 4 week lockdown, the National Ice Hockey League, (NIHL), and the teams involved took the decision to stream these games and have engaged with a professional sports broadcaster with ticket sales being handled by a third party – ticketco.
The games are priced at £12 each with the option of donating an additional £3 per ticket per person watching the stream on an honesty basis.
So those are the facts, and you could have gleaned those facts quite easily from the press release here: Press release

Now for the fans of MK, EA Raiders and Peterborough Phantoms, streaming is nothing new. The
Steeldogs, Wildcats and Bracknell Bees have all previously had a stab at streaming games with a greater or lesser amount of success, and the efforts have fallen by the wayside.
I've been involved in the streaming set up of the Peterborough Phantoms previously, and this has coloured
my view of streaming in general. The people I volunteered alongside, (none of us were paid), were
professional in their attitude and did as much as they could to make the broadcasts as professional looking
as possible. By and large we all learned on the job learning as much as we could from fan feedback and
the people around us, and I'd say it worked out pretty well.
In the early days we got a lot of pushback from the previous owners, with some justification, that
streaming games would encourage people to stay away, after all, why buy a family ticket at over £20 when you could watch the game in the comfort of your own home for £8?

These fears have, by and large proven groundless with no noticeable drop in the door numbers in Peterborough.
I would put a lot of this down to the away fans. There are three types of Hockey Fan generally: The
Fanatic – they'll follow the team home and away to every game they're physically able to, they often have
an impressive collection of merchandise and tend to provide unofficial Facebook or Twitter updates to friends and family. It would take little short of the Apocalypse for them not to accompany their team to a
game. You'll know their names as they get the shout outs for winning the 50/50 or shirt off your back
raffles quite often, probably down to the extra £20 or so they spend on tickets for these things. For a club,
these fans are nothing short of golden.
Secondly you have the committed Casual fan, they'll go to the majority home games, some away games,
will buy a shirt each season, and have a genuine interest in their team. This is probably the majority of fans. They buy the 50/50's and SYOBs.
Lastly you have the casual fan, they sometimes go to games, they don't go on the road, maybe have a hoodie or a hat.
Streaming of games isn't aimed your own fanatical fans, nor even your committed casual fans. It's aimed at
your lazy casual fans who probably wouldn't go to a home game, but more importantly, it's aimed at the

visiting team's fans – especially the committed casual fans.
You don't lose money from your gate, as the visiting team's committed fanatics will go through hell or
high water to see their team, however, your committed casuals don't tend to travel, but you gain money in
terms of streaming sales. It's an additional stream of income teams wouldn't otherwise have.
Of course, if you have a marketing team that are on the ball, there are additional sponsorship
opportunities in the broadcast too. Yet another stream of income.
So why doesn't everyone do it?
There are a lot of unknowns which put team owners off. We aren't talking about multi-billionares who can
afford to flush a few million down the toilet, most team owners in the UK are hockey fans first and foremost, but generally they're not rich. They might have been once, but then they bought a hockey team and it all went downhill form there, so the idea of shelling out a couple of grand on equipment is a big
scary prospect. Between that and the thought of the logistics, it's a no from most.
Why should teams stream games?
Once you've got the kit, it's money for old rope essentially. NIHL teams are required to video all of their
games. Pretty much every coach worth their salt will spend hours watching and rewatching game tapes
learning what worked, what didn't work and adjusting their plans and strategies accordingly. Most media
teams will, at the very least put, out highlight reels, so often, the skill sets are already there. However, it
comes down to money and a question to ask team owners – do you want more of it coming into your
Why is this series important?
For those of you that have been living under a rock, in a cave, on Mars, the world is going through a bit of
a pandemic. The Elite League, (EIHL), has decided not to compete this season for financial reasons, and
honestly, I don't blame them. But for the NIHL National Division, where overheads are a little lower, this
could show there is a viable alternative to just not playing under the current circumstances. This will show
that this level of hockey is sustainable and that maybe, just maybe, team owners shouldn't be afraid of
For the fans, and the fans should never be forgotten, it's a chance to reconnect with their teams, to get
back to something they love – very passionately. Without fans, be it in person or remotely, there is no
hockey, or at least not we we know, (knew), it.
So I've rambled on, and well done if you managed to get this far, but not actually covered the important
Who should you watch?
Honestly, it doesn't matter. It's hockey, watch as much as you can and enjoy it. You may not want to
cheer for one of the teams involved but there's nothing to stop you watching and giving the teams
involved you don't like a bit of stick. That's normal, it's a hockey fan thing. However, good viewing
figures will help to convince teams, and the league that, even if we end up in lockdown until the 32nd
Octember 2520, that the sport can run in a form that we still get to enjoy, (safely and socially distanced).
This is an experiment that deserves our support. Will you?

P.S. As the Phantoms aren't involved in this part, Go Steeldogs. #StinkydogsFTW.



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