January 1, 2012

Neil Tucker is all over the EPL and EIHL Action

Hand is Announced as New GB Coach For New Year

It was a busy time in British ice hockey over the New Year period. The EIHL continued to play as did the EPL and there was news off ice as well.

Ice Hockey UK announced on Friday (30th December) that the new Great Britain coach would be Tony Hand. Hand a 1986 draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers is currently the head coach of EPL side Manchester Phoenix. Whilst Hand is widely recognised as the greatest ever British player his coaching career began at the British National League Dundee Stars before moving on to roles with Belfast, Edinburgh and Manchester in the EIHL before making the move with Manchester into the EPL as well as being an assistant coach to Paul Thompson with the national side for a spell.

Elsewhere there was less positive news. Firstly the EPL title contenders the Slough Jets have released Tom Carlon due to financial reasons. The Jets are currently second in the EPL standings but stated that poor ticket sales and lower attendances were to blame. The forward has been snapped up by the Peterborough Phantoms for the remainder of the season.

Also in the EPL the Swindon Wildcats have announced the signing of former Basingstoke netminder, Dean Skinns. Skinns will play as back for the injuried Thomas Murdy.

Meanwhile in the third tier English National League the Oxford City Stars ENL1 team has been forced to resign. The Stars blamed the fact that 8 senior players had decided to quit the team as the main reason for their withdrawal. The Stars ENL2 side though will continue to operate.

On the ice a busy New Year’s weekend saw the Belfast Giants take a 3 point lead over Nottingham in the EIHL table. However Sheffield remain hot on their heels as they recorded a somewhat fortuitous victory over the Coventry Blaze. Luke Fulgham the former Blaze player grabbing a brace for his new team.

There was also a win for Fife in the Forth Derby. The Flyers beating the Capitals on penalties in the Hogmanay clash at Murrayfield. Fellow strugglers Dundee however lost their tie against Braehead thanks to a Clan comeback. Those results now mean that the Flyers are tied on points with the Stars for last place in the EIHL. The Flyers and Capitals will return the favour in Kirkcaldy on Bank Holiday Monday.

In the EPL it was a bad New Year for those sides at top of the table. Both Milton Keynes and Slough lost their Friday night games whilst table toppers Guildford lost both their games over the period. The Flames however remain on top of the table with a 6 point gap.

Now that you are up to date with the entire goings on in British hockey I would like to wish all the readers a Happy New Year and hope you continue to follow the EIHL, EPL and British ice hockey. I will be back with the game day reviews, Get Real Guide To and some more opinion piece as well.

Neil Tucker

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