Face-Off Time: London Ice Hockey Season Preview

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 38 months ago
Face-Off Time: London Ice Hockey Season Preview

It may seem like an all-American sport, but ice hockey is very much present in London too. Last year, we introduced you to the sport, and the four teams that play in London. Now the season's about to start again, we take a look at what the next few months hold in store for these clubs.

London Raiders and Streatham Redskins play in National Ice Hockey League South Division 1, while London Haringey Racers and Lee Valley Lions compete in National Ice Hockey League South Division 2.

London Haringey Racers

Photo: Haringey Racers

The Alexandra Palace-based team's first home match is on 3 October, and it's a special day for the club. It'll be raising money for The Spinal Muscular Atrophy Trust (SMAT) as the club's owners Dave and Verity Richards lost their baby daughter to the disease in April this year. Due to this sad time, the team's last season wasn't as successful as hoped.

However, manager Pete Osborne is confident this season will be better. "We have a new coach, and we want to increase our spectator number to the level they were at the season before last," he says. "We hope to finish in the top two of the league [they finished fourth last season] in order to progress to the end of season playoffs.  Also we want to make the cup final weekend which we are hosting at Alexandra Palace at Easter."

The team has also added some new players to its repertoire this season, including Luke Tull, signed from the Isle of Wight, and Stuart Spence signed from fellow London team Lee Valley.

See team website for more information and upcoming fixtures.

Streatham Redskins

Photo: Streatham Redskins

Streatham Redskins season kicks off full-on, when they play London Raiders away on 12 September and then Bracknell Hornets at home on 13 September.

The Redskins had a decent season last season, managing to stay near the top of the league for most of the time before finishing third. The playoffs in Milton Keynes were "an eventful end to the season but not the silverware we had hoped for" says Redskins defenceman David Carr.

Carr admits that, as with many ice hockey clubs, the main challenge facing them this season is to "keep fans coming through the door", but that shouldn't be a problem with the wealth of new players the club have signed, including English Premier League players Chris Wiggins and Nicky Chinn. Experienced blueliners James Warman and Ryan Giles boost the defence, while David Wride and Michael Ranby are also new signings.

In terms of games to watch, Carr recommends matches agains Invicta and London Raiders, as "they bring a good amount of away support so the atmosphere is great". From a personal perspective, he looks forward to playing against his former team, Oxford.

"Expectations are high this season", says Carr, who hopes that Streatham Redskins finish in the top two in the league this season, and hopefully with a cup and a place in the playoffs too.

See team website for more information and upcoming fixtures.

Lee Valley Lions

Photo: Jo Mewitt/Lee Valley Lions

Lee Valley Lions finished fifth in the league last season, but have added a significant number of players to boost their chances this time round.

New signings include former Guilford Flames defensemen Rob Young and former Basingstoke Buffalo forward Ben Duffy. Harry Bishop returns for the Lions after a three year absence. Bishop has played for Haringey Racers and Streatham Redskins in previous seasons.

However, the Lions have lost forward Vas Fedotovas to a team in his native Lithuania.

See team Facebook page for more information and upcoming fixtures.

London Raiders

Photo: London Raiders

Lee Valley Lions Defender Mark Robinson steps up a league to join the London Raiders for the 2015/16 season. The Raiders have also signed former Romford juniors Robbie Veares and Mark Robinson.

The season begins on 12 September when Raiders play Streatham Redksins at home. Last season didn't bring in any trophies for the team, so no doubt they'll be hoping for a home win to get this season off to a good start.

See team website for more information and upcoming fixtures.

Not been to an ice hockey match before?

If it's your first game, it's a good idea to buy a programme. In here, most clubs include a basic explanation of the rules and pictures showing the referee signals which can be confusing if you don't know what they mean. Live games are much easier to follow than on TV, so if you think you might have an interest in ice hockey, go along and find out. Tickets for the London teams usually cost around £8-£10 per match.

See also: an introduction to ice hockey in London

Last Updated 14 September 2015