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16 September 2017

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Some folks might have noticed it's been a bit quiet around Ice Cold Photography HQ these last few weeks.  Well, to be honest, it has been quiet.  And there are reasons for that.  For a start, there's really not much been going on for us to report on to be honest.  With the exception of Chieftains announcing the departure of Matt France a few days ago due to unforseen work commitments, the end of the off season has been pretty quiet.  We also took the opportunity to have our summer holiday in America over the last two and a half weeks too - so be warned, we may break out the holiday photos without warning!  But.....now we're back.  We've spent the last couple of days dusting down the keyboard and sweeping away the gathering tumbleweed.  We're also on the lookout for more subjects to subject to one of our interviews so....look out people, we might be coming to get you!

The summer is officially over and it's down to business.  Hockey season technically began last week for NIHL S2 teams with Bristol Pitbulls edging out Slough Jets 5-4 at their temporary home in Oxford, while Basingstoke Buffalo rode out 6-3 winners on the night against the newly formed Haringey Huskies, only to have the game awarded to the Huskies due to Buffalo icing a suspended player.

So, looking ahead to this weekend, 6 games in the Wilkinson this weekend, four on Saturday and two more on Sunday.  Invicta Mustangs welcome Peterborough Phantoms (last season's NIHL S2 champs Peterborough Islanders rebranded) to Gillingham.  In Surrey, new outfit, and baby brother of Elite League Guildford Flames, the Guildford Phoenix face off for the first time ever against a strong looking Oxford City Stars.  At Ally Pally, there's a London derby as the Haringey Huskies attempt to take an early points lead over the rest of the table as the take on Lee Valley Lions.  Finally, for Saturday, our game of the weekend is at The Hive as Bracknell Hornets take on Basingstoke Buffalo.  Hornets' player/coach Danny Hughes has been making some big signings during the off season and he looks to have built himself a strong team.  With the likes of Jack Tarzycki, Sean Scarbrough, and Will Sanderson among others joining from last season's Streatham team and the addition of former Bracknell Bee and Chelmsford Chieftain Carl Graham on the blue line as well as old favourites Harvey Hind-Pitcher and brothers Ben & Josh Ealey-Newman, we think that Hornets will be a force to be reckoned with this season, placing top four and possibly challenging for the title.  While Basingstoke Buffalo are, for us, an unknown force, I do think it's safe to say they're not going to let Bracknell have things their own way.  They do appear to have a fair bit of fire power at their disposal, and they have a good, dependable goalie in Aaron Craft.  They'll also be wanting to make amends for last weekends costly mistake and take some points back to Hampshire.  A thrilling encounter is expected, and we'll be there with all the action.  Follow us on twitter @icecoldphotos for updates as they happen.  And if you're there, come and say hello.  Any coffees or hot chocolates bought for us will be gratefully accepted as Hornets have posted on social media that The Hive is going to be more of an igloo.  Wrap up warm folks.

Just two games on Sunday as Bracknell travel to Lee Valley to take on the Lions, In Oxford what could be considered either a bit of in-fighting or even a derby as they're currently sharing the rink, sees Bristol Pitbulls travel (?) to Oxford City Stars.

20 August 2017

The moment every ice hockey fan has been waiting all summer for finally arrived at 6pm today.  After weeks up upheaval, lots of finger tapping and, we're sure, many headaches for the League Management Commitee, the fixtures for the NIHL South Division 2 were released by the teams in the competition.  Chelmsford Chieftains, like all the other teams, published their fixture list to their social media outlets, to mixed reaction from fans, the general concensus being that it was good to have hockey back, with a few fans showing dismay and disappointment at the lack of games. 

21 July 2017

You may have noticed that we've been quiet of late, and you may also have noticed some sublte changes to the website.  Hence the reason for our quietness - we've been doing some actual work on the website.  But, rest assured, we've not just been sitting back and relaxing the whole time.  There are other things to come for the website in the near future that we're hoping to bring you.  Unfortunately, as we've been busy doing other things, we have missed a couple of things that have come and gone, so we'll give you a quick update.

The summer continues in earnest in the Chieftains camp, with last season's Captain, Anthony Leone announced as Player/Assistant Coach earlier this month, a move which delighted fans of the Black And Gold.  Signing for his third straight season for Chieftains, Leone said:  "I’m really looking forward to this season especially with my new role helping Ben out on the coaching side plus I still get to be out on ice with team which was a big reason why I came back as I still feel I have a lot to offer on ice as well as off it”.  We're also sure that this signing means the other fans favourite, Anthony's young son, will also be taking to the ice for warm up sessions.

Fans would have noticed a couple of weeks ago that there was a call to arms from Chieftains for accommodation for an import.  Naturally, that started a frenzy of speculation that if they're looking for accommodation then a signing must be imminent.  Today, they were rewarded with the news that 28 year old Slovakian forward Filip Supa.  Whilst he's no stranger to NIHL hockey, this will be Filip's first season in the South, having spent the last four seasons with Widnes Wild and Deeside Dragons up in the North.  His Elite Prospects profile details his 140 goals and 85 assists in his four years in the UK.  Speaking about his signing, Filip said: "I'm very excited to play for the Chieftains this season. I can't wait to meet and get going with my new teammates. I've heard only good things about the south league, so I'm really looking forward to play in it especially in front of the Chelmsford fans."

Head Coach Clemma said of his latest signings “Bringing Leone back this season was key for me and now, after he agreed to become Assistant Player Coach, things have just got better. Having someone of his hockey experience around the team will be great for the boys and will definitely help me out too. He will have a big role to play this season and I'm looking forward to working with him and getting the best we can out of this team. I'm really pleased to have signed Filip for this coming season. I believe that he will help give us the edge over the other teams in the league. Having spoken to few people who know him he's a quick skater with a great eye for goal which gives us more attacking options going forward. I know he's really looking forward to challenge of playing in the south for the Chieftains."

We would like to welcome Filip to the Chieftains, and wish them both the best of luck for the season ahead.

Away from Chieftains, and on a darker side of the UK game, we are sad to hear of the demise of Womens Premier League team Slough Phantoms.  In a statement on their facebook page, the team said: "It is with great sadness and emotion that we have to announce that Slough Phantoms will be folding as a club. A number of reasons have caused this but ultimately maintaining a regular pool of players with limited resources and increasing costs is unsustainable.

We have had some amazing moments; European Cup Championships in Bolzano, Cergy & Riga, winning the double more than once, completing the treble and having numerous players representing GB and national hockey. We welcomed all and maintained a fun, friendly and hockey-for-hockey atmosphere which will be missed by many."

So, as another UK ice hockey team bids farewell to us all, we can only hope, and pray, that the reformat of the NIHL will be a successful one.  We are considered a minority sport as it is and media exposure is, at best dismal.  And, while the Elite League teams are able to plough thousands upon thousands of pounds on advertising and big name players who are, essentially, NHL has-beens, rejects, wannabes or never were's thus luring in the big sponsorship deals to fund the frivolous ways, the teams in the lower tiers who grow and nurture home talent and who rely on volunteers week in week out to keep the team and the league running are left to scrap for every piece of available media coverage and every penny of sponsorship they can get.  We hope that it won't be too long before Slough have another women's team back in the WPL.

That's it for now, we hope you like the new look website, keep checking back for more updates and content as we get it.


1 July 2017

It started as a quiet week for Chieftains and Coach Clema, with just a couple of signings anounced on Monday.  Then, in the second half of the week things really got busy.  At about 11:30 Wednesday night, while most sensible people were sound in slumber, Chieftains were busy releasing the news of their latest additions. 

Welcome to the fold 17 year old Ethan Boolkah, and a new face at Riverside in the form of Rob Veares.

Ethan is another graduate of Chelmford Ice Hockey Academy, who has risen through the ranks of the Tomahawks and the Mohawks, and making appearances for the Warriors during the last two seasons.  On his call up to his first full season of senior hockey, Ethan said "I really enjoyed playing with Warriors the last couple of seasons.  When Ben suggested I be part of the new team he is putting together, I jumped at the chance to play alongside and learn from the more seasoned Chieftains."

Rob Veares, on the other hand, is a product of the former Romford junior system, climing through the ranks until the closure of Romford Valley Way, at which point he joined Haringey Racers for two seasons.  He returned to the Raiders organisation for a season in 2015/16, playing for London Raiders before returning to Haringey last season.  Speaking on the team's Facebook page, the 26 year old 5'8" defender says: "  I’m looking forward to joining Chelmsford and playing within this strong and talented team. I have played against Chelmsford for many years and they've always provided a tough competition - I'm hoping to help keep it that way! The club has a great following of fans that I'm looking forward to playing for. I'm excited about the changes within the league structure, with the addition of new opposition and I’m ready for a successful season."

As if that wasn't enough, Clements also kept the midnight oil burning the following night announcing another pair Warriors, this time in the form of Ricky Mills and Sean Martin.

At 31 years of age, Mills is no stranger to the Chelmsford organisation, again progressing through the junior system whilst making some appearances for Chieftains in their EPL days, before going off to ply his trade with Romford in 2006/07.  In the 2009/10 season, he returned to Chelmsford, spending the next three seasons with the Warriors.  In 2013/14 he signed for Haringey Racers before once again returning to Warriors last season.  When asked about his new role in the Chieftains, Ricky says: “I was planning on retiring from hockey at the end of last season to spend more quality time with my family, but when Clema approached me about signing for the chieftains at NIHL2 level, I couldn't turn down the opportunity of playing for the Chiefs again - especially with some players I started my hockey career with well over a decade ago! I'm also hoping to pass some of my many years of experience onto the younger players throughout the season. Hockey has been a big part of my life for a very, very long time and I couldn't think of anything better than spending what could be my last year with some great hockey players."

Meanwhile, Sean Martin's response to his signing was: "Wow what an honour it is to pull on the black and gold again this season and ice for the Chieftains. It was a no brainer when Ben called me to talk about next season. I Caught myself thinking back to the season we went unbeaten which was the last time I played for the Chieftains. How amazing would that be if we could do that again, with the team Ben's put together so far it's defo a possibility. Second thought was better hit the gym and get ready to add to the Chelmsford silverware."  Yet another graduate of Chelmsfords outstanding academy, 31 year old Sean has also been around spreading the love of the worlds fastest team sport, with spells at Swindon, Bracknell, Oxford, Romford and Haringey to add to the many stints at Riverside.  

With over 570 league and cup appearances between them, there's a lot of experience in Ricky and Sean to pass on to the younger players who are making the leap into senior hockey for the first time this season.

And before the dust could settle on the news of Ricky Mills and Sean Martin, Coach Ben was up bright and early Friday morning with news of what were arguably the most eagerly awaited and rumoured signings of the off season so far.  After 10 years in Chelmsford, it was widely rumoured they would go elsewhere after the drop to Division 2, but it was revealed in the team's announcement on Friday morning that 23 year old twins Cameron and Grant Bartlett would not only be making their return to Chieftains for 2017/18, but were actually the first two players signed to the team.  Cameron states: “I can’t wait to play again and September can’t come soon enough. Since the decision to join NIHL 2 we’ve had offers to play at the so called ‘higher level’ but it’s not what I want and I’m sure that goes for Grant as well. I enjoy playing at Chelmsford so why change it? This level of hockey suits my lifestyle as away from the ice work is flat out at the moment." While Grant adds  “Like Cam, I’m looking forward to the new season. We’ve had a great run at Chelmsford and they do say all good things must come to an end. But this is not the end it is simply the beginning again. I’m looking forward to playing alongside some of the new guys as the older ones were getting to be a little boring sometimes…joke. I’m sure It’s going to be a fun year and I’m looking forward to challenge for more silverware."

Following his monster week of signings, Chieftains Head Coach, Ben Clements, had this to say on his handiwork: "Ethan is a young and enthusiastic defender who will be playing in his first full senior season having played up form the U18s last year, so this will be a great chance for him to develop his game even more, especially with the help of some of the more experienced guys in the team.

"Good defenseman are hard to come by in this league, so to be able to sign Rob this season is a massive boost for the team. Rob is your typical stay at home defender who won't shy away from getting stuck in in the corners. I'm really looking forward to seeing him in a Chieftains jersey

"Sean is the type of player most guys hate playing against as he just won't stop skating and chasing down loose pucks which, for a coach, is great to have a player like that on the team. I know he can't wait to get going and help the team win more silverware.

"This isn't the first time Millsy has played for the Chieftains and I know he's looking forward to the challenge this coming season. He is a smart player and reads the game well especially helping back in the defensive zone but he will also chip in with the goals too which is going to be key this season as I want all 3 lines contributing.

Being able to keep both Cam and Grant is massive for us this season, especially when I know they both had other offers on the table.  But once we spoke, both guys made it clear they wanted to play for Chelmsford and help the team get back to where we belong. Both guys had great seasons last season finishing in the top 10 points and I'm going to be looking for them to continue in this fashion this season coming especially now when they will be two of the top senior guys in the team”

With 16 players now signed for Chieftains, Ben's rebuilding task is almost complete, and the training for the new campaign will shortly begin in preperation for what is, going off the strength of players being signed by other Division 2 teams, shaping up to be one of the most competative seasons we have ever seen in NIHL hockey.  Just like the players, we are looking forward to the new season, to welcoming the new team to the ice, to cheering on the Black and Gold.  While we love the Summer, for us September just can't come soon enough now.

26 June 2017

Two More Sign On The Dotted Line

After a quiet weekend, Ben Clements continues his team building anew with another pair of announcements this evening.  

As has been in keeping with all the previous signings, both players will be no strangers to regulars at Riverside having both played for Warriors last season.  

Having spent all his playing career at Chelmsford, beginning with the 2000/01 season for the Tomahawks, progressing through the Mohawks and Warriors, and even pulling on a Chieftains shirt in the 2008/09 season, 30 year old defence man Gary Brown joins the team after spending the last eight season at the Warriors,  while notching up an impressive 195 points in his career.  Speaking about his signing, Gary, who is the older brother of Chieftains regular Darren Brown, says: “Having played for Chelmsford since I started playing hockey 23 years ago, I was worried that last season would be my last after receiving the news about the Warriors. Then I got a call from Ben asking me to play for him and the Chieftains, so after 10 great years of playing Warriors I get to put on a Chieftains shirt again. I am honoured and excited to make this my 24th year to play for Chelmsford."

The second signing of the night comes in the form of 23 year old forward Tom Wilson, who comes to Chieftains after playing the last 6 seasons for the Warriors.  Having been Warriors top scorer last season, racking up 15 goals and 6 assists in 17 appearances, we think he's going to cause Chieftains opponents more than a few problems in front of goal.  In Chieftains statement, Tom says: “There have been a lot of changes to the league this year with new teams joining etc., and it is a great opportunity of which I am looking forward to for the season to come.  Ben is a great goalie and has a lot of experience in the game so, of course when I received the call it was a yes to being part of what he is building this year and I'm looking forward to see what the new adventure brings to Chelmsford. After playing for the Warriors for a number of seasons now it is exciting to be putting on a Chieftains shirt and playing for the rest of the team and the fans."

Speaking about his latest aquisitions, Coach Clema commented: “Having grown up playing with Gary through the Chelmsford juniors, I'm really looking forward to having him back in the team this season. He reads the game really well at the back and if need be can play as forward too. It will be great having a player of his experience around the team especially for the younger guys in the room.  “Tom is a big strong forward with a great shot on him and will cause all sorts of problems for other defenders. He finished top goal scorer for the warriors last season so I will be looking for him to continue being a threat around the net”.

Gary and Tom join Darren Brown, Matt France, Donald Campbell, Ross Brears, Will Polston, Elliot Dervish, Sonny Phillips and Billy Cook in what is already looking to be an impressive team in the making for Ben Clements and the Chelmsford Chieftains.

You can read the full statement on Chieftains Facebook page HERE

23 June 2017

Clements Signs Shot Stoppers

When the bad guy's forwards make it past the Blue Line Patrol, they're the last line of defence.  Sometimes, they're the game savers.  Good ones are a critical part of building a new team.  Some may even say that they're quite insane.  They are.....The Goalies!  And if there's one thing Coach Clemma knows about, it's goalies.  As with previous announcements from Head Coach Ben Clements, Chieftains announce a pair.

First up, after getting his first full senior season with Chieftains in 2016/17, Sonny Phillips stood tall and proved himself time and time again between the pipes.  At just 20 years old, Phillips will play his second season as a Chieftain, this time as the team's starting goalie.  Speaking about the signing, Ben says: “The moment I got the job as head coach I knew I wanted Sonny as my number 1 goalie. Having played together last season I know exactly what I'm getting with Sonny and I'm sure he's going to go from strength to strength between the pipes this season”.  Delighted with his appointment, the fans favourite stated: “I'm so glad to be returning to Chelmsford this season after hearing Ben's plan for the team and me. I can't wait to get going come September. With the changes to the league it's not going to be easy but I will do my best to help this team win some more silverware."  

With the solid defence in front, it's going to be a hard enough task as it is for opponents to get to Sonny's goal, but with a save percentage of 92.7% last season, getting to the goal and getting the puck into it are going to be two completely different things.  

Of course, every starting goalie needs an understudy, and Sonny is no different.  This coming season, that task goes to last season's Warriors #1, Billy Cook.  A youngster just starting out in his career, he takes a well deserved leap into senior hockey for Chieftains.  But at just 16 years of age, coach Ben Clements has a lot of confidence in the signing.  In the team's press release he comments: “It's great having him sign for the team this season especially knowing how hard he's work to get where he is in hockey but this is just the start and I'm going to be looking for him to push Sonny in training and games."  While Billy remarked: “It's a great feeling to be part of what I think is a strong and passionate team. Wearing a Chieftains shirt will definitely be something to remember, as it was one of my aspirations coming up through the Academy and it feels amazing for the opportunity to come up. I have great confidence in Ben being our coach as he's helped me to where I am now and he knows what he is doing. When I was offered the position to play, I knew there was only one answer. This is definitely going to be a step up in my career and I look forward to the coming seasons and being part of a team that can produce results”.

Although considered a back up, Billy's stats are nothing to be sniffed at either with a save percentage of 89.6% in 12 games for Warriors last term.  We think that Billy may well give Sonny a run for his money for starting rights this season.

You can read Chieftains full press realease on their Facebook page HERE

So Coach Clemma's team building machine goes marching on at break neck speed, we can only wonder who is going to come next, and when.  We don't think it'll be long before we have some more to report on.

London Raiders Vs Chelmsford Chieftains, 13 December 2015

22 June 2017

Two More Sign Up For Chieftains

Hot on the heels of our interview with Chieftains Head Coach, Ben Clements, yet another announcement of signings was made on the team's facebook page.  And, once again, it was a pair of faces that are familiar at Riverside.

First up is a 32 year old, 6'3" veteran defender.  Having been released by Chieftains mid way through the 2015/16 season to make way for the Phillips brothers, Matt France makes his return to Chelmsford.  On signing France, Coach Clema states: “I've know Matt for a very long time and I know he will want to prove a few people wrong this coming season, and I'm glad he's chosen Chelmsford to do so. He has a great eye for goal from the blue line as well as making that killer pass to start an attack from the defensive zone”.  Speaking to the Chieftains Media team, Matt said: “After getting the call from Ben it was kind of hard to say no. He might be an inexperienced coach but he's been around ice hockey and part of winning teams for a long time, so he has that winning mentality. He has played under some good coaches so hopefully that will rub off on him and I’m sure the whole team will work hard and make it an easy transition from playing to coaching. I'm happy to be part of the team again pulling on the jersey, back at the club I started. After talking with Ben and listening to what his plans for the team were I was happy to sign, and can't wait for the season to start and be part of hopefully a successful season. It’s always an honour to play for the Chieftains and hopefully we can give the fans something to celebrate and get excited about."

With a chap this size patrolling the blue line, we think it's going to be a mighty tough job for any opponent who has aspirations of heading for the Chieftains goal this coming season.

The second player announced last night is, as in keeping with previous announcements by the team, also no stranger to the Black And Gold, having played the last two seasons with the Warriors.

Chelmsford Chieftains Vs Invicta Dynamos, 6 December 2015

18 year old Donald Campbell, also a defender, trained with Chieftains last season and makes his debut for the team this term.  Clements says: “Donald was training with the Chieftains last season and I have to say I was impressed with him and work effect and he definitely didn't look out of place. I'm looking forward to working with Donald this season and giving him a chance to grow as a player."  Reported as being over the moon to get the call up, Campbell stated: “I was inspired to play hockey after watching the Chieftains over 12 years ago, and I have been playing at Chelmsford all my junior career. After spending the last two years playing for the Warriors I was getting closer to playing for the team I once supported, so I was more than pleased to hear that Ben wanted me to take the ice for the Chieftains this year. After my success in both junior and senior leagues over the past years, I hope to continue this success with the Chieftains this year. As one of the younger players I hope to encourage younger fans to take up hockey at Chelmsford and also learn from the more experienced players or even teach them some new tricks”.

If Donald's name seems familiar to Chieftains fans, you may well remember him icing for "Team Stripes" as a linesman in last season's playoffs.  

Welcome to the Chieftains, Donald, we look forward to taking lots of photos of you come game night.

20 June 2017

More Good News For Chieftains Fans

Another announcement on Chelmsford Chieftains Facebook page by Head Coach Ben Clements this evening is sure to please even the most disheartened of Chieftains fans.  Coming just four days since the veteran goalie announced the signings of Ross Brears and Will Polston, tonights offerings will be equally welcome additions to the 2017/18 squad.  And, as before, the signings are no strangers to the Black And Gold.

In the team's statement, Clements says “Ever since the Chieftains first dropped down from the EPL, he has been a massive part of the team, his work rate is second to none. At times he might of been seen as underrated but he's definitely going to be one of the go to guys this season”.  Chieftains fans will be delighted to welcome back Darren Brown.  When asked about re-signing for Chieftains, the 26 year old Chelmsford native, who has been a regular in the team since 2008, said: “I was planning on retiring from hockey. But with the team dropping down I felt I still had a bit left to give. With fewer games I should be at home more for my family which is a bonus. So when I got the call saying Clemma was going to be coach, it gave me an easy decision to make.  I’m sure Clemma is the right man for the job and I’m very much looking forward to getting my skates on for some pre-season training ahead of what is sure to be an exciting season."

Second up in tonights announcements is a 22 year old forward who has also arrived at Chieftains through the Chelmsford Academy.  A regular in the Warriors line up since the 2013/14 season, Elliot Dervish has amassed 86 goals since joining the Chelmsford Apaches in the England Under 16 League in 2007/08, and racking up 41 total points in 61 games for the Warriors.

“Elliot is another one of last season's Warriors who's looking to continue to improve his game.  I'm really glad he has decided to do that with the Chieftains” said Clements. “He has a great attitude towards the game and I know he can't wait to get started and play in front of the Chelmsford fans”.

On his signing, Chieftains newest recruit said: “Ever since I was 9 I've been playing at Chelmsford and I have never wanted that to change, so as soon as I got the call from Clema I knew exactly what I was going to say. I was given the chance to play some Chieftains games when I was in my first few years of Warriors, so to finally make the jump for this coming season is a real privilege. It's going to be a challenging season with the new league structure but the way the team is shaping up and the excellent fan base behind us, I think we are in for a great shot at some silverware”.

Chelmsford Chieftains Vs Invicta Dynamos

With a few quiet weeks behind us, it seems Coach Clements has now started to bang the war drums of NIHL S2 and sent out a warning to the other teams that Chieftains mean business.

The statement on Chieftains Facebook page can be found HERE

16 June 2017

Chieftains Finally Make Some Signings

Hot on the heels of Chelmsford Chieftains announcing the signing of a new new Head Coach, Ben Clements, the team building has begun in earnest.  The first two players to wear a Chieftains shirt for the 2017/18 season were announced on the team's Facebook page earlier tonight.  Both players are no strangers to Riverside, and one will be very familiar to Chieftains fans indeed.

First up was former Chieftain forward Ross Brears, who was released by the club at the end of the 2015/16 season and then went to play on the 2016/17 season for Chelmsford Warriors. Racking up a whopping 639 points in 439 appearances over his 13 year career, all at Chelmsford, Ross will be a very welcome signing for fans.  In Chieftains statement, 25 year old Brears says: “It's been a hard time for the club the past few months and I am really happy to be part of the team to take the first steps in the prospect of lifting more trophies. Having Ben as coach is going to be an exciting experience as he was a great goalie and understands the game thoroughly. He is also about bringing through new talent into the team which at this point rebuilding a new team for years to come is a massive priority that Chelmsford need to address. It's going to be a nice feeling putting back on a Chieftains shirt and I really look forward to playing with the team and for you fans once again”.

The second player to pull on a Chieftains shirt in September, while new to Chieftains, is also no stranger to Chelmsford.  Having been Warriors Captain for the last six seasons, 28 year old Will Polston will be patrolling the blue line.  With 215 appearances, Will has totalled 57 points. When asked about his signing Will explained ”When I got a call from the newly appointed coach explaining he wanted me to sign for the Chieftains this coming season, I agreed in an instant. Having been involved with the Warriors since it's first season 10 years ago, and had the honour of being captain for the Warriors for the last 6 seasons, I hope to add some experience to the youngsters making the transition to senior hockey both on and off the ice as well as playing alongside some great talent that I grew up playing with and against. Signing for the Chieftains this season is a great way to celebrate the 20th year since I started playing and I look forward to providing an exciting, competitive and engaging season for the fans of Chelmsford ice hockey".

Speaking about his signings, Chieftains Head Coach Ben Clements said: "It's great to have Brearsy back with the Chieftains this season.  He was actually the first guy I called once I knew I had job of rebuilding the team.  He plays hard every shift at both ends of the ice and will chip in with the points as well.  He is the type of player every coach would want in their team.  

"I’m really pleased to have Will on board this season, he is a great guy to have around the team and always plays 110%.  He has been Captain of the Warriors for the last 6 seasons so I will be looking for him to bring that leadership into this Chieftains team”.


NIHL League, Playoff, and Cup Format Confirmed By EIHA

Yesterday, the EIHA confirmed the format for the whole NIHL competitions for the 2017/18 season.  League formats for all divisions were announced previously, with the format of the playoffs and cup competitions being finalised this week. 

Playoffs for Division 1 will see the top 8 teams from the division facing off in home and away games over three weekends to decide North and South champions, culminating in a Grand Final weekend featuring two teams each from the North and South to crown an overall National Champion.

Division 2 will see a slightly different format for the playoffs, due to a different number of teams in the North and South.  In the North, the top FOUR teams will face off over one weekend to decide their Champion, while down South the top EIGHT of the 14 teams will play two-legged Quarter Finals before the final four take part in a playoff weekend to decide a Champion.

Division 1 will have two cup competitions.  There will be a National Cup featuring 12 of the Division 1 teams from both North and South.  This will start with four groups playing to a knockout stage.  The groups, however, seem to bunch all the former EPL teams together while all the previous NIHL teams are also bunched together.  While this may seem (and has been slated as such by many on social media) boring as the same teams are meeting over and over, it looks to us as though it's designed that way to manufacture EPL v NIHL at the knockout stage.  Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen.  

There will also be an Autumn cup for NIHL teams to take part in, however it appears that only the former EPL teams have been selected to take part in this competition, which will be played and decided by early December.

It was also announced that there would be no cup competitions for Division 2 teams in either region.

It was also announced that at the end of the season there would be automatic one up/one down promotion/relegation between the divisions.  There is to be an exception to this at the end of the 2017/18 season that will see no relegation from Divison 1 in the South to allow the division to return to 10 teams.

The full statement from the EIHA can be read HERE.

it's fair to say that the reception on social media by fans has been less than enthusiastic.  Many people have seen the announcement as a missed opportunity, while others have called it a "cop-out" and a "shambles"  Some have even gone as far as to speculate that with teams playing each other so many times that it could have seriously detrimental effect on crowd numbers.  Again, only time will tell whether this will be the case or not.  That said, looking at the Autumn Cup and the National Cup, it does appear that there is a bias towards the former EPL teams, grouping them together in the National Cup and giving them their very own cup to contend.  While, it appears, the NIHL clubs appear to get very little out of it.  Yes, the Division 1 teams (or at least some of them) get to compete in the National Cup against each other with a lucky one or two going up against a former EPL team against which they are likely to get a good thrashing.  There was a clear opportunity there to give the NIHL teams from both divisions and regions their own inter-division cup competition.  An opportunity that was sadly missed.

One of the most vocal reactions to the statement was by Legendary player, journalist, and self confessed whiner, David Carr, who took to his column in Pro Hockey News to vent his displeasure at the direction the EIHA and LMC have taken with the new league format.  You can read his article HERE.

I guess all we can do now is sit and wait until September when the season begins, get behind our teams and see what happens.

13 June 2017

Clements Returns To Chieftains

With news coming out of other teams adding to the woes of Chieftains fans, most notably the signing of Matt Turner and Olegs Lascenko by London Raiders, and Alex Staples by Oxford City Stars, Chieftains fans have, understandably, been getting frustrated by the lack of any news coming from the Chelmsford side.  

They will, no doubt, be pleased by the announcement earlier today that, in what could possibly be the shortest retirement in UK Ice Hockey history, Chieftains veteran goalie, Ben Clements, would be returning to the club.   However this time he won't be between the pipes.  

Following the news that Chieftains were to step down to NIHL S2, Ben announced his retirement from playing to concentrate on coaching the future Chieftains in the Academy and in doing so, in Ben's words: "allowing talented younger net minders to play and gain vital experience." 

But, in a dramatic turn of events behind the scenes, it was announced on the team's Facebook page that Ben would be returning to Chieftains as Head Coach for the 2017/18 season, replacing Kenny Redmond who, according to the team's press release, had had a rethink and decided to move to pastures new.  Ben also had this to say in the press release: "Once Derek (Bartlett)  got in contact with me about the Head Coach role, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down. Given the changes enforced on the club I am really looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding and putting a competitive team out on the ice come September. Being in NIHL2 this season means I will be looking to give the younger guys a chance to step up to senior hockey and give them a taste of what it is like, whilst adding in some experienced guys to help them out on and off the ice. I can't wait to get started and look forward to your continued support next season"

We here at Ice Cold Photography are, naturally, delighted to see Ben return to Chieftains, and wish him a whole heap of success in his new role.

Chelmsford Chieftains Vs Bracknell Hornets

29 May 2017

Clements Leaves Cheiftains

Within the last hour, Chelmsford Chieftains #1 netminder, Ben Clements, has announced on Social Media that he will not be back for the 2017/18 season.  

Having initially signed up with the team to defend their NIHL S1 league title, following the team's decison last week to apply for NIHL S2, he has decided the role would be better taken by someone else.  Citing the motivation for the decision as hindering the development of younger players, alongside the arrival of a new baby in August, 29 year old Clements says in his statement that  "I find myself in the position where I feel that by playing I would be hindering the opportunity for a couple of very talented younger netminders to play and gain vital experience at that level."  The veteran nettie also hints in his statement that the drop to NIHL S2 for the Chieftains will be the end for the Warriors, the team traditionally tasked with developing junior players for future Chieftains appearances.

Whilst Ben will be leaving Chieftains, he will not be turning his back on the sport or the Chelmsford organisation, reassuring fans that he will continue to coach in the junior academy and Conference set up.  He also goes on to thank team owners Derek and Karen, and the fans and team mates.

Ben's full statement, released on his facebook page, is as follows:"Just a few weeks ago I had signed up to the challenge of helping the chieftains defend their title next season. Unfortunately with the team now aiming to ply their trade in NIHL 2 in place of the Warriors I find myself in the position where I feel that by playing I would be hindering the opportunity for a couple of very talented younger netminders to play and gain vital experience at that level. Having developed through the junior ranks at Chelmsford and been given those opportunities with the Chieftains in the ENL2 back in 2008, I know how important it is to have those chances. Now at 29 years of age, I feel that it is fair i do that as the club loses a part of its development structure. Its been an incredibly hard and emotional decision to take as the club and its fans have been a part of my life for so long. I intend to continue to coach within the junior Academy and conference set up, and with the upcoming addition to my family due in August it is going to be a busy time for me away from the ice too.

Chelmsford Chieftains Vs Bracknell Hornets

I would like to thank Del and Karen for their hard work over the years, together with the coaches and teammates I have played with. Its been an honour to have been part of a talented team and have had the opportunity to win honours with the club. Finally I would like to thank you all for supporting me and the team over the years, its been a privilege to play in the black and gold and to have your support.

Clema #35"


20 May 2017

Chieftains Break Their Silence

Following the shocking announcement yesterday that Chelmsford Chieftains, Oxford City Stars, and Solent Devils would be withdrawing from NIHL S1, overnight Chieftains finally released their press release to inform their fans of the decision.  In their statement, owner Derek Bartlett sites the league's restructure and player movement as the main contributing factors to the decision, saying that "After the restructuring, NIHL S1 has effectively become the new Premier League and the cost of putting a squad together has increased massively."  The release goes on to say that "New coach Kenny Redmond called last season's players and only three players agreed terms there and then to sign for the 2017/18 season.  Other players were then contacted, who demanded large sums of money.  We soon realised that the Premier League would not be within our budget, and if it was we'd have been playing in the Premier League before it ran into trouble.  

Despite the success and contrary to popular belief we were not a big budget team and anyone that has played for the current management knows that that's a fact"

Chieftains, who have been in NIHL S1 since 2009 after dropping out of the EPL for similar reasons, have now applied to play in NIHL S2 for the 2017/18 season and plan to regroup using players from the Chelmsford Academy.  While this may ensure the future of Chieftains, one wonders if this move would now leave Chelmsford Warriors in a similar unstable position. Although Chieftains may have applied to join NIHLS2, the application surely has to be approved by the teams currently already in that league, and also the EIHA management.  As it stands at the moment, Chieftains don't currently have a league to play in.

Naturally, the fans reaction on social media has gone into overdrive.  While some applaud the move as sensible, and the right thing to do to save the club from potential financial ruin, the vast majority of people see it as "running away" or "hiding behind other teams".  Many have also suggested that the move was down to the team not wanting to be in a league where they wouldn't be as successful as in previous years.  They also see the move by the reigning NIHL S1 champions to a lower league as a similar move to the former EPL teams moving down into NIHL S1, potentially forcing current Division 2 teams into the same financial insecurity that Chieftains are trying to avoid.

You can read the full Chelmsford Chieftains press release by clicking here.

Solent Devils, as far as we are aware, have yet to make a statement and we are assuming that they are the other team who have applied to join NIHL S2.  Many people did expect Solent to make the decision to drop down a division at the NIHL Section meeting two weeks ago.  But at the end of last season, the found some form and made a bit of a resurgence which, we are assuming, meant that they felt they would have something to prove to themselves, their fans, and the rest of the league if they were to stay in Division 1.  While we are yet to discover whether it was Solent who made the first move, or just followed Chelmsford's lead, we do think that, if accepted into NIHL S2, that they would be more competative there.

Oxford City Stars, on the other hand, were quick to put out a statement to their fans.  So quick, in fact, that this was where, for most of yesterday, fans of all NIHL S1 teams had got their information from - even beating the official EIHA press release by several hours.  Oxford commented that their decision to leave NIHL S1 was prompted by a further restructure following the withdrawal of Chelmsford and Solent from the league.  A restructure that, to them, would put their financial viability and, therefore, the team at risk.  As yet, they have also to announce whether they have applied to join NIHL S2.  In the mean time they are promising their fans that they will continue to find a way forward to keep Oxford City Stars playing in as high a league as possible for the 2017/18 season.  But as there is already an Oxford team in NIHL S2, there is also the possibility that they wouldn't be accepted into that division either.

Last night, however, one of Chieftains biggest rivals, Invicta Dynamos, along side NIHL S1 newcomers, Cardiff Fire, were quick to release statements reassuring their fans that they were committed to the new NIHL S1 league, and have no intentions of following the three other team's lead and withdrawing.

Now, with the whole league in turmoil, it seems that the fans will just have to wait until the team owners decide they're ready to speak to their fans.  For the sake of the fans of all the teams in NIHL, and for the sake of Ice Hockey in the UK in general, lets all just hope that the EIHA can find a solution to a situation that is rapidly becoming farcical. 

19 May 2017

BREAKING NEWS

Following a statement early this afternoon by Oxford City Stars that the league was in turmoil after they announced a further restructure, fans from all teams worked themselves into a Twitter frenzy of shock and speculation as to what was happening.  A short while ago, EIHA put a statement out saying that "overnight and this morning Solent Devils, Oxford City Stars and Chelmsford Chieftains had told the LMC that they wish to withdraw from NIHL S1.

"After our meeting on May 7, where the league was in such a positive place, it is desperately disappointing to see this happen."  It goes on to say "Several of these teams have requested relegation to NIHL S2.  This will be considered over the coming days and a full statement will be made at that time to include the agreed structure for NIHL 1 and NIHL 2 in the South.  The LMC continues to talk to all of the member clubs of the NIHL South to reach a solution as soon as possible."

Naturally, fans of these teams have taken to Social Media to express their thoughts - most of which are of shock and disappointment, not only at the decision of their teams but also at the lack of anything official from the teams themselves.  While people on the Social Network platforms are expecting these three teams to make an appearance in NIHL S2 now, it has been pointed out that Chelmsford and Oxford already have teams in NIHL S2 so, for the sake of junior development, may not be accepted by the league.  We felt sure, as Chieftains fans, that we would at least give it a go for a season and see if it works.  Sure, we expected to be less competative against the bigger guns of the former EPL teams,  but we did expect Chieftains to be the top half of the conference - and the league overall.  And we certainly expected Chieftains to make the play offs. 

It has to be said that I am as shocked and surprised as anybody else.  Here was I expecting Chelmsford Chieftains, current league and cup champions, to stand up and be counted and at least take a stand and fight.  Instead, we're informed by a league statement that we have hung our heads and ran away.  While we will continue to be Chieftains fans, we are feeling rather disappointed by the team right now.

So with three teams currently without a league to play in, one thing for sure is that this is a very dark day for Ice Hockey in the UK, particularly at this level.  We can only hope that a solution is found very VERY soon.

Click Here to read the full statement from the EIHA

17 May 2017

Coaches, Grand Finals, Heartbreak and Cycling

It’s been a really busy few days in the world of lower league ice hockey, and we’re only half way through the week!

Starting with the most recent, Chieftains announced late on Tuesday night that their search for a new head coach to replace the outgoing Sean Easton was over and former Bracknell Hornets head coach, Kenny Redmond, would be taking over the reins at Riverside. With over thirty years experience in the game as both player and coach, he comes to Essex with an impressive CV. In a playing career that began in the mid ‘80’s and spanning 23 years, Redmond racked up a massive 975 points in 497 appearances, retiring as a player at the end of the 2001/02 season and making a comeback for a season in 2007/08 playing in the Irish Ice Hockey League. Following his retirement from playing, his coaching career began in 2008, coaching the Irish National teams until 2013, winning Gold and Bronze world championship medals. Following a sabbatical for a season, he was snapped up by Chieftains rivals Invicta Dynamos as assistant coach for the 2015/16 season, before heading to Berkshire to take over as Head Coach at Bracknell Hornets for the 2016/17 season, while also coaching the South West Under 15’s. In the statement issued by the club, Coach Redmond says: “I’m delighted to be involved with a club of Chelmsford’s stature, and can’t wait to get started.” While team supremo, Derek Bartlett, went on to say “The past few weeks have been a trying time for the Chieftains. This is going to be a testing times for all the teams this year with the new league structure, but, as always, we will try our best to put our best team on the ice with the budget we have.”

The reaction to the news on social media was mixed, with some welcoming Kenny to the Chieftains family, while others described the news as “underwhelming”. Some were even speculating as to the possibility of his son, Conor, joining him at Riverside. While many will only remember him for his season at Bracknell last term, it’s fair to say that there wasn’t a lot going for him there with regular short benches, and the team going through a massive amount of imports due to injury and illness. What Chieftains fans can be assured of, however, is that their new coach will give 100% to the team and expect the same from his players.

Tuesday lunchtime, 16 May, the EIHA announced the post season playoff format for the coming season. Following the end of the regular season and, presumably, the NIHL cup finals, there will be a further four weeks of hockey for some as the playoffs get a revamp. The new format will feature a play off series similar to what we’ve been used to but this season will culminate in a Grand Finals weekend at a central location featuring teams from both the North and South leagues - something we’ve been longing for for some time.

The top eight teams from both regions will qualify for the playoffs and will play each round over a two legged home/away aggregate score. This will follow the tried and tested format of 1v8, 2v7, 3v6, and 4v5 in week 1 and (1or8) v (4or5) and (2or7) v (3or6) in week two leading to a regional final in week 3. The Grand Final weekend will then take the format of two semi finals on Saturday with North winners taking on South runners up and South Winners taking on North Runners up, with the winners of both semi finals meeting in the Grand Final on Sunday. The press release also states that there are likely to be other games scheduled for the weekend although further details on this are yet to be worked out. However, we expect that to be a 3rd place game between the losing teams from the semi finals.

While we applaud the league for finally giving us a playoff weekend that will involve both regions, we feel it could’ve been better. In the format they’ve decided on, it’s entirely possible that the Grand Final could be played between two teams from the same region which will be a repeat of that regional final. While the majority say this is a good thing as it should be the best two teams in the league facing off in the Grand Final regardless of which region they come from, we disagree. We’re not saying NIHL is a comparison to the 7 or 8 figure salaried players across the pond playing in the NHL, it has to be said that if the two best teams in the NHL happen to be from the Western conference, there will ALWAYS be an East V West Stanley Cup Final. And so it should be in NIHL.


Chelmsford Cobras Vs Milton Keynes Falcons

WPL action on Sunday brought heartbreak for a very short benched Chelmsford Cobras, as they went down 1-12 to Streatham Storm in the top of the table, winner takes all clash. While the scoreline says it was a one sided affair, team manager Frank Wright insists it wasn’t all one way traffic. On facebook he says “It may look like a pasting but the team played with great heart. We had 11+1 players to start the game, with two subsequently taking injuries and unable to complete the game leaving a bench of just 9+1. Tiredness took its toll and 6 of the goals came in the last 10 minutes”.

Carolyn Scott scored a hat trick, Rachael Wood and Melissa Reidelberger bagged a brace each and Jennifer Lawrence, Fiona King, Joanna Chung, Isabell Whiteley and Jamie Endrizzi with single markers for Streatham, while Assistant Captain Jennifer Bolton scored the consolation for Cobras.

While it wasn’t the result Cobras wanted, it’s been a spirited season for the Chelmsford ladies team, turning their wooden spoon season last year into runners up this year - an achievement all the team can be proud of. We will be back at Riverside next season to cheer on our favourite girls.

And finally, the reason I wasn't at Riverside to cheer on Cobras, I managed to complete the 50 mile Colne Valley Cycle Ride in a time of 3:46:49.  A time I'm quite pleased with given the puncture I had at 42 miles, and the massive, massive amount of hills!  A massive thanks to work colleagues and friends, with whose kind sponsorship, I managed to raise almost £300 for Essex Air Ambulance.

14 May 2017

While the NIHL season may have been done and dusted a few weeks ago, there is still the issue of the Women's Premier League to be resolved.  Our belles at Chelmsford Cobra's, who have been sitting pretty at the top of the league for most of the season, are now in second place behind Streatham Storm who have a slender one point lead.  Today sees the final game in the season for the WPL and at Riverside it's winner takes all as the top two teams meet.  For the winners today, a nice shiny trophy and a promotion to the Elite league beckons.  In their last meeting back in November, it was Cobra's who came away with the spoils bringing home a 4-3 win in what was a close game.  We hope for more of the same, however we think this is too close to predict. #WeGotThis


Chelmsford Cobras V Slough Phantoms

Unfortunately, I won't be at Riverside to cheer on the Cobras today as I will be joining hundreds of other like minded individuals taking part in a 50 mile cycle ride through the Colne Valley and North Essex Countryside in aid of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.  If you happen to be in the area and see us about, please cheer us on and give us a wave - it will help.  Fingers crossed I survive this one!  #WeGotThis

8 May 2017

It's been a little over three weeks now since EIHA Chairman Ken Taggart sent "THAT" email to the seven remaining EPL sides advising them to apply to join their respective NIHL leagues for the coming 2017/18 season.  With Manchester Phoenix folding before the end of last season, and MK Lightning and Guildford Flames going up to the Elite League, it has been deemed by the league that a seven team EPL would be unstable and Mr Taggart's recommendation being for the greater good of Ice Hockey in the UK.  With Swindon Wildcats and Sheffield Steeldogs first to make statements to their fans that they would apply to NIHL, the other five teams followed suit soon after.

Yesterday, 7th May, the league and current NIHL South teams held their section meeting In a record breaking six hour meeting, the applications from the former EPL teams were heard and, ultimately approved.  Also on the agenda was how the NIHL would look with extra teams, and what format it would take.  

Of the eight teams who iced in NIHL South Division 1 last season, all but one remain, Bracknell Hornets opting to move to Division 2.  While last season's Division 2 West champions, Cardiff Fire, chose to move up to Division 1, Division 2 East and Play Off Champions Peterborough Islanders, who are affiliated with EPL side Peterborough Phantoms are to remain in Division two and are renamed Peterborough Phantoms 2.


Former EPL sides Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Peterborough Phantoms and Swindon Wildcats join NIHL South Division 1 to form a twelve team league, split into two conferences, each with 6 teams:

Conference A will house Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Cardiff Fire, MK Thunder, Oxford City Stars, and Solent Devils while Conference B will host Chelmsford Chieftains, Invicta Dynamos, London Raiders, Peterborough Phantoms, Streatham IHC, and Swindon Wildcats. Each team will play teams in their own conference twice at home and twice away, and play teams from the other conference once home and once away, making a 32 game league season. Whilst, at first glance, there doesn't appear to be any logic to how the conferences have been split, it does appear to us that, going off last seasons standings, the stronger of the six teams have been bundled together in one conference.  It was also announced that we have seen our last tied game in NIHL, as it was decided that if scores were tied after regulation there would be 5 minutes of sudden death 3 on 3 overtime followed, if necessary, by a penalty shootout.

There will also be a Division 1 cup competition with two groups initially playing a round robin format and ending in knock-out stages.  Play Offs have yet to be confirmed, the league indicating that they are waiting for NIHL North to have their section meeting which, we believe, is scheduled for this weekend.  Although at this stage we would expect it to be the top four teams in each conference progressing to the play offs in a 1v4/2v3 two leg home and away format with the winner of each conference meeting in the final.  That said, there is also the possibility that there could be a North V South final for the ultimate post season prize.

Reaction to the new format has been mixed,  with fans of the former EPL teams feeling especially agrieved with comments on the various social media outlets along the lines of "got the rough end of the stick" and "load of old rubbish" while one Phantoms fan vowed to become a Lightning fan.  Fans of current NIHL S1 teams greeted the news with much more positivity, many looking forward to seeing new teams, travelling to new rinks, meeting new fans, and making new friends.  The decision to bring in Overtime has also been welcomed with open arms by pretty much every NIHL fan.

In a statement issued by the English Ice Hockey Association, NIHL South League Manager Richard Carpenter said "It was a difficult meeting but we've reachen an agreement on the way forward.  There are no perfect answers to such a highly complicated situation but we would like to thank all the teams involved for reaching a deal to the betterment of British Ice Hockey."

While we agree there's never going to be a solution to this that pleases every fan and every team, we do believe that this is a good format and will provide a winter of exciting ice hockey.  Our only hope is that, with the inevitable better quality of players in the former EPL teams, there won't be too much of a void between them and the NIHL teams.  

22 April 2017

EXCLUSIVE!

Sean Easton speaks to us

Following on from our earlier article detailing Coach Sean Easton's move to London Raiders, and the statement released by Chelmsford last night, Sean has spoken to us.  There are always two sides to every story and, while it may prove unpopular with some, we believe that both sides should be heard.  The following is what Sean wrote in it's entirety, and unedited by us:


Dear Chelmsford supporters,

It's only fair that my side is heard after a statement has been released about me.

For anyone that knows me and has worked with me will know that ice hockey is my true passion, and will also know that I put everything into the sport that I love not for self gain but just to share knowledge and develop players as much as I can.

It's been a tough year in many ways but we found a way through it. I have been a part of Chelmsford for 23 years as a player and coach, and for the past 10 years I have been head coach of the junior Academy, a job I have enjoyed doing. I love this club with a passion and I believe I have played my part along with lots of great coaches and dedicated volunteers over the many years to get it to where it is today.

The club has enjoyed another successful season, and against many doubters wishes, we have yet again been a top team with many younger players stepping up in their natural development and flourishing at a higher level.

Yes Romford was a consideration of mine because the thought of being able to help build a new club from scratch is an exciting one for someone that loves the sport. Secondly, I always strive to challenge myself to become a better coach by experiencing new environments, faces and styles and, in this case, rise to a new challenge to see if I can help rebuild a team and test my abilities once more.

Chelmsford Chieftains, as many of people have said, will always be successful with the infrastructure they have built and sometimes a coaches ability can be hidden within that. I want to be as good as I can be and go as far as I can in the sport and to do that I need to challenge myself.

This may sound like I'm just thinking about myself and not the club, but that's really not the case.

I was gutted not to be there for the team in the playoff finals, but due to the unfortunate loss of the IOW from an already reduced league meant our season was curtailed and the playoff dates moved mid season. Unfortunately the GB tournament clashed with the playoff finals when it's normally still the first rounds of the playoffs.

It is an absolute honour to represent Great Britain in ice hockey, the highest honour anyone in the sport can achieve, especially with talent I have helped to nurture, and I am grateful I have had the privilege to do this for a second year.

I would have loved the chance to attend the end of season celebrations to thank you all for another great season but I was asked to NOT attend the day before. Luckily I had the chance to spend time with the players before the presentations to inform them of my non attendance and thank them all for what has been a great year. All the players understood and as has been mentioned in every sport people move on or have to move on.

I asked for a face to face conversation about 17/18 season but was told that the management were not interested in what I had to say. I wanted the chat at the end of the season to finish the year off professionally concentrating on the task in hand, and talk about next season but this was denied.

By this point I had not been asked to return to the chieftains for the 17/18 season and, had to consider my options without the opportunity to talk directly with the club. As with all players and coaches, in that situation, they have to look for the next opportunity.

The rumours have been doing the rounds for a long time and that's all they were then, just rumours, as nothing had been decided, to say the move is a shock is a shock in itself.

London asked if Chelmsford wanted to release a statement about my non return for the next season which was declined, and gave London the go ahead to announce my arrival. And this is we are where we are now.

I would like to thank the Chieftains for the great opportunity that was given to me. To the coaches that have worked alongside me and also the players that it has been an immense privilege to coach.

Finally my thanks and gratitude go to the fans who have supported the team and me during my tenure as coach. I wish you all the best of luck for the future.

Thank you

Sean Easton

We'd like to thank Sean for taking time out to share his side of recent events, and once again we wish him well at London and his future endeavors.  


21 April 2017

Easton Heads To Raiders

Yesterday, Chelmsford fans were thrown into even more turmoil when, what was arguably the worst kept secret of the off season so far, was confirmed by London Raiders. That being that coach Sean Easton would be joining their organisation next season.

Following weeks of rumours around the various social media outlets, the statement by the Raiders reads "For good reason Sean is a very well respected coach at senior level and for his work with developing players both locally and at conference and national level. Sean is to join forces with Alan Blyth and the Raiders management for the 2017 2018 season and we confidently expect that relationship running the Raiders in NIHLS1 will cement a coaching union which with the addition of other key staff in the new Romford Leisure development will quickly return the Romford name to the “club team” column of the conference and GB squad lists."

Sean takes with him a long list of achievements at junior, senior, and international level, and having success in both NIHL1 and NIHL2. A highlight of his career to date leading Chelmsford Chieftains to a famous Quadruple in 2015/16. In his two season reign at the helm of Chieftains, Sean has led his team to 6 of the 7 trophies that were on offer, and in the last league campaign dropped just four points. With a track record like that, we would expect London to be contenders next season.

We wish Sean well in his future endeavours, and thank him for the time he spent with Chieftains and the success he brought the team. Hopefully, he won't become a stranger to Riverside.

Chelmsford Chieftains Vs Wightlink Raiders, 17 April 2016
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