Guildford Flames

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Guildford Flames
2013–14 Guildford Flames season
LogoGuildfordFlames.jpg
City Guildford, Surrey
League English Premier Ice Hockey League
Founded 1992
Home arena Guildford Spectrum
Colors      Maroon      Blue
Owner(s) United Kingdom Sportfact Ltd.
Head coach United Kingdom Paul Dixon
Captain United Kingdom David Longstaff
Championships
Regular season titles 4 (97/98, 00/01, 05/06 & 07/08)
Challenge Cups 2 (06/07 & 09/10)
Playoff championships 4 (97/98, 00/01, 03/04 & 10/11)

The Guildford Flames are an ice hockey team based in Guildford, Surrey and their home ice is the Guildford Spectrum.

Founded in October 1992, from the following season, the Flames have been in the British National League or its former rival league (and main successor since 2004/5 season), the English Premier Ice Hockey League clinching their first season there by defeating reigning champions Milton Keynes Lightning away. The team's Head Coach is Paul Dixon who took over after Stan Marple retired at end of the 06/07 Season. Notable current Guildford players include captain David Longstaff, a member of the Senior GB National Team. Canadian stars David Oliver and Jamie McLennan transferred to Guildford during the 04/05 Canadian NHL lockout.

Formation[edit]

Barry Dow, an American who sponsored and owned the basketball team Guildford Kings and Bill Hurley established and owned the team as management – the two were new to the sport of ice hockey, and brought in Mike Urquhart as coach and Darrin Zinger as captain.

Key players signed for the first season included Canadians Sean Murphy and Dave McGahan due to their high scoring at Solent Vikings. In addition a number of British players including goaltender, Mike Kellond; forward, Danny O'Hanlon and defender, Gary Shearer.

The Flames' inaugural season began in October 1992; they began, unseeded, in the English League Division One. With the Guildford Spectrum not yet completed, the team had to train at Slough with kind permission of Gary Stefan. The Flames played their "home" games at Alexandra Palace until their new home ice was ready and played their for the first time on 23 January 1993.

When 23 January 1993 finally arrived and the Guildford Spectrum opened, the event was a big one. The area's paid-for newspaper The Surrey Advertiser described the local council's £28 million arena as "awesome".[citation needed] Guildford's first game at their new home showed a convincing win with Andy Sparks scoring the first goal at the Spectrum. The team went to the top of the Conference due to that game, a position they held onto for the whole season.

Many of the defence men and Kellond suffered injury problems, just before the start of the play-offs; however, despite this, Guildford managed to gain a promotion for their second season.

The team was very popular with crowds, with the average attendance being over 2000 (capacity was 2200) so attracted local insurance company Cornhill as a sponsor along with Pepsi Cola as the shirt sponsor; the latter prompting a temporary name change to the Pepsi Guildford Flames between February and November 1993.

Season by season review[edit]

1993/94 Season

In their second season in the higher league was tougher for the team. By March of the 1993/94 season the true impact of the club's financial problems was revealed, with players threatening to strike over unpaid wages; eventually a deal was completed allowing the club to complete its season fixtures. The team finished mid-table, avoiding promotion and relegation.

1994/95 Season

The 1994/95 season saw the club taken over by SportFact Ltd. led by banker John Hepburn, Hepburn's sons were all in the Flames junior set-up and he befriended Flames stars Paul Thompson and Ryan Campbell; they installed Ron Charbonneau as general manager and assigned him the task of taking the club to the Premier within three seasons. The club's roster was changed radically leaving only five players from the previous season.

Among high points of the third season was a draw with the Cardiff Devils, the then most successful club in British Ice Hockey; however the club was alleged[by whom?] to have broken wage-capping rules, which they disproved.

1995/96 Season

The fourth season saw the team go from strength to strength, Guildford appointed Ivan Brown (former Winnipeg Jets coach) as a new non-player coach. Flames' finished one place higher than in the previous season and made their first appearance in the Promotion playoffs. Finishing third in a playoff group so close that three more goals would have put them in first place. This was also the season which on Sunday 17 December 1995, saw Andy Sparks gets his number retired in a ceremony after a match with the Bracknell Bees at the Guildford Spectrum. In a fitting tribute in front of a full house, his no. 15 shirt was the first to be retired and hung from the rafters.

1996/97 Season

The 1996/97 season was a major change in British Ice Hockey with the launch of the ISL. The Flames had advised setting up the new top league and then controversially at the time, didn't play in it; instead they played in the second tier British National League. Unfortunately the season that began with optimism turned out not to be as successful with the Flames securing only third place after the play-offs.

1997/98 Season

The 1997/98 season, after three seasons of failing to live up to their potential, Flames were halfway through their 5-year plan and crunch time was approaching. For the second season in a row the management trekked up the M4 in search of a coach, this time welcoming Stan Marple, fresh from his all conquering season with the Swindon IceLords.

With major changes in the team winning became common place for the team, not only successful in the national league, they also showed the ISL - BNL gap was one that could be bridged with Challenge game wins over Basingstoke Bison and Nottingham Panthers; being the first ever defeats of Superleague teams from a British team not in the league.

The season also represented the Flames first testimonial match with Darrin Zinger retiring from the club in a full-time role.

1998/99 Season

The 1998/99 season was rocked by injury and various players leaving the club. The teams grip on the British National League slipped every game with more and more points being dropped. One of the reasons that the team was suffering so badly was the injury of Goaltender Jamey Organ which occurred during a Christmas Cup clash with Peterborough Pirates.

1999/00 Season

The 1999/00 season represented high spending for the club, but not much in the way of results; the team signed Team GB captain Ian Cooper from ISL side London Knights. This season had a number of milestones Pete Kasowski and Derek DeCosty scored their 100th goals; Stan Marple coached his 100th game.

2000/01 Season

The 2000/01 season had a change of uniform and colours for the team. The team claimed the Baker Tilly Shield beating the superleague's Bracknell Bees; and the team went on to compete in the last ever Benson & Hedges Plate final where they lost out to the Basingstoke Bison. The team went on the win the ntl: Cup beating Fife Flyers in the two leg final. The Flames were victorious in their home arena in front of a capacity crowd of screaming Bison and Flames fans in this finale to the British National League, which could not have been better scripted; Guildford won the game and the league. At the end of this season (Mr Guildford) Ryan Campbell retired from the game and his #10 shirt was retired and hoisted to the rafters. During this season, former player and Junior coach Fred Perlini had his number 11 shirt retired.

2001/02 Season

The Flames began the 2001/2002 season like the previous season, with back-to-back games against the Bracknell Bees; unfortunately it was the Berkshire side that won the two-leg series 8-3 on aggregate to take the Baker Tilly Shield back to Amen's Corner.

2002/03 Season

The 2002-2003 season saw the Flames finish in 3rd spot with 22 wins and 14 losses. The Flames finish was good enough for a playoff qualification, however, and they were pitted in Group B along with the explosive Dundee Stars, the Edinburgh Capitals and Fife Flyers. A solid Flames showing, losing just 2 of 6 playoff contests, launched them into the 2 leg playoff semi finals. Unfortunately, their second place playoff seeding put them up against the league champion Coventry Blaze, and 120 minutes of semi final hockey saw the Flames lose a 9-3 aggregate score

2003/04 Season

The 2003/04 season represented a change in the recruiting process; rather than a club with lots of North American players, Stan Marple brought in more British and Slovakian players. The team won the British National League play-offs.

2004/05 Season

Flames competed in the BNL. They lost to Dundee Stars in the play-off final. During this season, Flames made 2 big signings while the NHL was locked out. David Oliver the Dallas Stars forward signed and then Florida Panthers goalie Jamie McLennan also signed up.

2005/06 Season

The 2005/06 season saw the Surrey based side win most of their games, with a twenty game winning streak in the first two months of the season, before finally being defeated by Swindon Wildcats away from home in their first meeting of the year. They went on to clinch the EPL Championship when they defeated the Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday 11 February 2006 at the Planet Ice Arena.

2006/07 Season

The 2006/07 season saw the Surrey based club crowned EPL Cup winners after they defeated the Milton Keynes Lightning 7-5 on aggregate. The first leg was held at the Guildford Spectrum on Wednesday 28 February 2007 in front of 1,232 spectators and the Flames won the game 3-2. The second leg was played on Thursday 8 March 2007 and the Flames won another close encounter 3-4 in front of 1,026 spectators at the Planet Ice Arena to secure the win and Premier Cup bragging rights for 2006-2007. The Play-offs in Coventry brought no riches, after their Preimer Cup Succees. After Rick Plant's Overtime winner against Sheffield sealed a place in the final, against local rivals Bracknell Bees, the Flames could not clinch the play-off title crashing out 3-2 on melting ice. This also marks the year of retirement of long time Flames coach Stanislaus (Stan) Marple in 10 years, he played 194 Games, scoring 15 Goals, assisting on 32, gaining 638 Pim's, coaching 614 games for Guildford and winning 396 of them, the Flames won ten Titles under his reign. On 4 March 2007 his number 3 was hoised into the rafters never to be worn again.

2007/08 Season

Dixon who played hockey at the now-defunct Durham Wasps and at Newcastle Vipers opened his coaching account with a win as the Guildford Flames handed the visiting Romford Raiders a 9–2 defeat in the opening game of the English Premier League. After that things started to nose dive as the flames failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the English Premier Cup. Often up until late October with half the squad out due to injury the flames struggled, and by mid–November had a 6–2–4 record. But with the signing of a fifth import, Canadian Taras Foremsky.,[1] from the Peterborough Phantoms, the Flames rallied going unbeaten for over a month, winning 11 games, placing them top of the English Premier League. Over the New Year period, Guildford won a thrilling 4–3 home tie against Slough in front of 1921 fans at the Spectrum; and then delivered an impressive 4–0 win over visiting Bracknell, just their 3rd shutout of the season. The Flames continued this good run of form, with the exception of a patch in mid January, leaving them top of the table, in a pivotal weekend (16/17th of Feb.) the Flames beat 3rd–placed Milton Keynes 5–1 and 2nd–placed Slough Jets 6–2 leaving them top of the table by 4 points with 6 games remaining. The Flames reached the Knockout cup semi–final, but gave a poor display, losing 11–6 on aggregate to Milton Keynes. Heading into the second to last weekend, they knew that 2 wins from 4 remaining games would hand them the title. 1769 fans weren't disappointed as they enjoyed a 7–3 win in a very ill–tempered game with Romford. Josef Kohut had a hat–trick of goals and an assist earning him Man of the Match. On Sunday the Flames travelled to Telford and came away with a 6–1 win, crowning them EPL League Champions with one weekend to spare. The last weekend of the regular season saw the Flames thrash Swindon 7–2 and beat MK Lightning 5–3. It was their 11th consecutive league game win. The Flames opened the playoffs with a convincing 8–3 win at the Spectrum but then lost the following day 5–3 in Sheffield. The following weekend, the Flames got their 4th shutout of the season, winning 3–0 against Romford. The second of the 2 back–to–back games in Romford was postponed until Thursday 3 April, however, this didn't affect the players as they won 8–3 in a match with 181 penalty minutes. The Flames needed just 1 point to clinch a place in the finals. A perfect final weekend consisting of a 6–4 away win at Peterborough followed by a match which attracted the largest crowd of the season for the Flames (and therefore the league) with 2,022 witnessing the 4–3 win over visiting Sheffield. Despite these wins, Guildford finished 2nd in group A, behind Sheffield on the tie–break rule. The Flames lost to Slough 4–3 in the playoff finals.

2008/09 Season

After an indifferent start to the season with 3 wins and 3 losses, it was announced on 9 October that the Flames would travel to Slovakia and take part in an exhibition against Extraliga side Poprad in a game opened by the Queen during her state visit to the country.[2] Guildford struggled to find form up to the Christmas period where they remained top of the league, 2 points ahead of Peterborough. However, every other team in the league was playing catch–up (Peterborough with 4 games in hand). By late January the inevitable had taken place with too many dropped points resulting in Peterborough moving up to lead the table, and still with 4 games in hand. A mixed January included the loss of veteran defenseman Mark Williams, who returned to Romford, but culminated in a convincing 8–2 win in front of 2,124 fans was a fitting result to end a game in which Jozef Kohut returned with the Swindon Wildcats. Poor results in February saw Guildford lose too much ground on Peterborough and Milton Keynes. It was obvious that back–to–back titles would not be enjoyed.

2009/10 Season

It was all change during the off–season with many players moving on. Many high–profile replacements were announced, including Gary Clarke and Nathan Rempel, and culminated in the signing of Martin Masa from Grenoble. Masa and Smital had been teammates in five previous teams.

2010/11 Season

The 2010/11 season saw the team bolster its ranks of British players with Matt Towe, Ben Campbell and David Longstaff, who was team captain from the outset. Slovak, Miroslav Hala was a high profile member of the team, carrying all early season netminding duties while Mark Lee recovered from surgery. The team enjoyed a significant winning record throughout the season, but a few losses against lower-placed teams ultimately left them a close second in league standings. The team reached the cup semi–finals against Slough Jets, but a bad third period in the first leg effectively decided the result. With netminder Mark Lee recovered, he backstopped the team to 17 consecutive wins to end the season as playoff champions, the team's first success at the EPL finals weekend in Coventry.

Club honours[edit]

  • Season 2012/13
    • English Premier League Champions
    • English Premier Cup
  • Season 2011/12
    • English Premier League Champions
    • English Premier Cup
  • Season 2010/11
    • English Premier League Playoff Winners
  • Season 2009/10
    • English Premier Cup
  • Season 2007/08
    • English Premier League Champions
  • Season 2006/07
    • English Premier Cup
  • Season 2005/06
    • English Premier League Champions
  • Season 2003/04
  • Season 2000/01
  • Season 1998/99
    • Benson & Hedges Plate Winners
  • Season 1997/98
  • Season 1996/97
    • Benson & Hedges Plate Winners

Team Logo and Jersey[edit]

The current team jerseys, for both away and home.

The team logo is very similar to that of the Calgary Flames of the NHL. The team jerseys mirror those used by a former NHL team, Atlanta Thrashers from 1999 to 2006 (with logos replaced and advertisements added).

Team Roster 2013/14[3][edit]

As of 26/08/1

Management[edit]

  • CEO Canada Rob Hepburn
  • Commercial Manager/Senior Advisor Canada Kirk Humphreys
  • Scout Canada Art Parke

Coaching staff[edit]

Players[edit]

Goaltenders[edit]

  • 1 United Kingdom Mark Lee
  • 29 United Kingdom James Hadfield

Defencemen[edit]

  • 4 United Kingdom Neil Liddiard
  • 6 United Kingdom David Savage
  • 22 United Kingdom Paul Dixon
  • 33 Slovakia Branislav Kvetan
  • 37 United Kingdom Chris Cooke
  • 55 United Kingdom United States Ricky Skene
  • 82 United Kingdom United States Jez Lundin

Forwards[edit]

All-Time Scorers List[edit]

Top 20 players by score: from inception to end of 2013/14 Season from Guildford Flames.com:

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty Minutes; # =Active Flames Player

Player Seasons GP G A Pts PIM
Ryan Campbell Canada 1993–2001 474 373 543 916 397
Ricky Plant United Kingdom 1997–1998, 1999–2004, 2005–2014 849 310 476 786 663
Milos Melicherik Slovakia # 2003- 545 240 537 777 717
Paul Dixon United Kingdom # 1999- 858 112 475 587 506
Jozef Kohut Slovakia # 2003–2008 & 2011- 359 264 237 501 980
Derek DeCosty United States 1996-1997 & 1998-2003 338 262 209 471 255
Fred Perlini Canada 1994–1997 167 256 182 438 164
Paul Thompson Canada 1993–1999 356 163 247 410 851
Terry Kurtenbach Canada 1994–1999 307 128 253 381 272
Stuart Potts United Kingdom # 2004- 572 115 260 375 231
Rob Lamey United Kingdom 1996-2002 & 2006-2010 516 150 221 371 287
David Longstaff United Kingdom # 2010- 242 108 245 353 94
Rob Friesen Canada 1993–1995 108 162 185 347 66
Barcley Pearce Canada 1997–2001 180 148 184 332 200
Lukas Smital Czech Republic 2007-2011 209 133 193 326 196
Nathan Rempel Canada 2009-2013 223 176 124 300 198
Sean Murphy Canada 1992–1993 40 117 163 280 46
Peter Kasowski Canada 1997–2000 177 124 154 278 120
David Savage United Kingdom # 2004- 416 106 172 278 406
Dave McGahan Canada 1992–1993 40 138 124 262 86
  • Most Games Played: #22 Paul Dixon (858)
  • Most Goals: #10 Ryan Campbell (373)
  • Most Goals (British): #17 Rick Plant (310)
  • Most Goals by a Defender: #16 Paul Thompson (163)
  • Most Assists: #10 Ryan Campbell (543)
  • Most Assists (British): #17 Rick Plant (476)
  • Most Assists by a Defender: #22 Paul Dixon (475)
  • Most Points: #10 Ryan Campbell (916)
  • Most Points (British): #17 Rick Plant (786)
  • Most Points by a Defender: #22 Paul Dixon (587)
  • Most PiMs: #4 Neil Liddiard (1277)

All-Time Goalies[edit]

Top 10 Flames Goalies with 500 or more minutes(based on Save %). As of the end of the 2013/14 Season.

Note: GS = Games started; M = Minutes Played; SOG = Shots Faced; GA = Goals Against; SV% = % of shots saved; SO = Shut Outs; GAA = Average Goals Against per game; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime Loss; # =Active Flames Player

Player Seasons M SOG GA SV% SO GAA
Jamie McLennan Canada 04-05 570 288 21 92.71 0 2.21
Mark McArthur Canada 00-02 7249 3861 311 91.95 8 2.57
Joe Watkins United Kingdom 05-09 11723:19 6385 527 91.75 12 2.56
Miroslav Hala Slovakia 10-11 2179:52 1319 113 91.40 0 3.66
Gregg Rockman United Kingdom 2014 789 405 35 91.35 0 2.66
Miroslav Bielik Slovakia 04-05 3469 1900 165 91.32 6 2.85
Stevie Lyle United Kingdom 03-04 4033 1832 161 91.21 5 2.40
Mark Lee United Kingdom 09-14 11473:32 5860 551 90.59 12 2.88
Tom Annetts United Kingdom 04-07 1958 943 89 90.56 3 2.73
James Hadfield United Kingdom # 11- 2245.23 1244 123 90.11 2 3.29

Retired numbers[edit]

The retired numbers at the Guildford Flames are:

Team Captains[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "[1]". December 2007. Retrieved on March 25, 2008.
  2. ^ [2] Official Release, Published October 9, 2008
  3. ^ Eliteprospects.com (http://www.eliteprospects.com/team.php?team=1106)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bracknell Bees
EPIHL Champions
2007-08
Succeeded by
Peterborough Phantoms
Preceded by
Peterborough Phantoms
EPIHL Premier Cup Champions
2009-10
Succeeded by
Incumbent