I didn’t have an opportunity to write a blog last week as I had all the mayhem of the transfer deadline to deal with. It’s a busy period for agents throughout the world as teams look to make last minute changes whether that’s to help with their playoff push or they’re getting ready for a relegation battle. It was quite a frantic period this year with a number of teams making changes.
Edinburgh brought in netminder Jens Van Poucke from Belgium outfit the White Caps Turnout in addition to Jan Safar from HYS Den Haag and Blake Royle from Deuil Garges in France. The Belfast Giants brought in highly experienced Latvian defenceman Kaspars Astasenko who looks like he could be a good addition for Doug Christiansen, while the Nottingham Panthers made a deadline day move for Jeremy Van Hoof from the Guildford Flames (the least said about the last move from me the better).
Talking about Nottingham, the Vipers again defied the odds last night and came away with another win against the Panthers. Having been beaten 15-0 at the National Ice Centre last weekend, I don’t think there was many expecting anything from the game and rightly so. Running a business as we all know can be very difficult, especially a sports entertainment business. You constantly have to keep your paying customer entertained and that exactly what Nottingham had done the week before – no issues on that front from myself. However there were certain examples during the night that probably crossed ‘the line’. I am sure this would have been in the back of the players minds going into last night’s game, they were hungry and they wanted to make Nottingham pay. As I’ve said before, credit to Danny and the players who have all been first class since the club hit it’s issues back in late November.
After the game I spoke to Rob Wilson in Italy as he still likes to hear how the Vipers are doing. Rob took his first coaching job outside of the UK last May and has done very well with Neumarkt Egna in Serie A2. The Wild Goose as they’re known to the locals have exceeded expectations this season having finished bottom of the league last season. Rob went to Italy knowing it would be a very difficult job and having competed with teams with budgets three times his, Neumarkt have upset the odds by finishing second behind Gardena and in front of Vipiteno who they beat 7-5 last night. Rob and Neumarkt are now heading into the playoffs and I hoping he can finish the season off in style with a championship. Rob is someone who I have a lot of respect for after what he achieved on the ice and what he tried to achieve off the ice in Newcastle.
Congratulations to 9HM client Miroslav Bielik who won the Belgium Cup with the White Caps Turnout on Saturday. Miro who has previously played with the Guildford Flames and Hull Stingrays in the UK as well Pontebba in Italy is currently in his second season with Turnout. This season has seen Turnout and HYC Herentals join six Dutch clubs in the North Sea Cup. The Dutch league is quite a step up from the Royal Belgium Championship, so the two Belgium teams have found it difficult but have started to find their feet recently. So Saturday’s cup final was an opportunity for both team’s to show what they’re made of so I was delighted to see Miro get something out of a difficult season. I do think Turnout and Herentals will come away with some valuable experience from the North Sea Cup, especially the young Belgium players. Here are some photos from the final from the fantastic Fintan Planting.
Another disappointing home defeat for Ebbsfleet at the weekend, going down 0-3 to Farnborough which saw them leapfrog the Fleet into 2nd place in Conference South. The Fleet are still in the mix for promotion at the end of the season and hopefully they can keep the pressure up on Braintree in the coming weeks. If you’re around the Kent area tomorrow, the Fleet are in action against Eastleigh (7.45pm kick-off) with tickets still available.
A great result for Tommie and the Tigers against Slough last night. They’ve been through a tough couple of weeks, so to win on home ice against a team stacked with talent like Adam Calder and Jan Krajicek came as a major boost to the whole organisation. Slough have a very good coach in Peter Russell, someone who is one of my clients and I believe has a big future in the game given the chances. The Sheffield Steeldogs are visitors to Telford tomorrow night (7.30pm face-off) with tickets now on sale.
Has everyone had their annual fix of the Ice Hockey Annual yet? If not get one today, well worth a read. Available here priced at £9.45 which is the cheapest price you’ll find anywhere on the internet.