One on One with Hull Stingray/Peterborough Phantom Scott Robson

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(Photo: Tom Scott)

Scott Robson is one of the young British lads who are making their names known on the British hockey scene. First suiting up back in 2007 with the Junior B squad of the Manchester Phoenix, the then 12 year old was making an impact from the very first time he stepped onto the ice. At 18 years of age, he suited up and made his debut for 37 games with the Elite leagues Hull Stingrays proving he could ice with the best of the Brits that were out there. This season he is on a two-way contract, spending his time between both the EIHL’s Stingrays and the EPL’s Peterborough Phantoms. Here’s a bit of a look into the mind of young Scott Robson.

March Hockey: What made you get into hockey and why?

Scott Robson: Both of my parents and family played a big role in getting me started into ice hockey and I couldn’t thank them enough for it. I grew up watching the games as far back as I can remember; whether it be Humberside Seahawks or the Manchester Storm. I can even remember watching my current coach in Peterborough (Slava Koulikov) play in Hull when I was little!. I’ve been fortunate over the years to travel to all sorts of countries like Canada, America, Sweden and the majority of Europe to watch hockey which made me become addicted to it before I even hit the age of 10.

MH: How do you describe your style of play? Who do you look up to as a player, if anybody?

(Photo: Allan Foster)
(Photo: Arthur Foster)

SR: I’d describe myself as a very offensive D-man who loves to join the rush but capable of looking after the defensive zone first. Over my years with Hull I’ve been able to learn so much from each defenseman on whether they’ll be a offensive or defensive style of player which hopefully solidifies my game. I love watching Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators with the way he jumps into the rush and makes a big play.

MH: What are some of the advantages of playing for both an EPL team and an EIHL team? Are there any disadvantages?

SR: The main advantage is that I have two teams and two sets of different players in which I can learn from and develop further. Also having two different styles of coaches that are looking out for me and my best interests. They are giving me an opportunity every night to play consistently and making me reach my full potential. There isn’t a disadvantage to me being on a two way. I think its great for me and both Peterborough and Hull.

MH: What do you feel you can add to this year’s Hull Stingrays lineup?

SR: I feel I can add a bit of an offensive jump from the defensive zone and give a more attacking style of play. I’d like to give off a capable attitude of playing in the EIHL. It’s all still a learning curve for me and I’m just grateful for the opportunity. After the first weekend playing in both games for Hull,  I already feel I’ve been taught valuable lessons so to speak.

MH: This will be your first time in the EPL as a member of the Peterborough Phantoms, what do you see for them in terms of how the season will play out?

SR: I’m excited of course.  I’ve been really impressed with Peterborough and how well run and co-ordinated everything is here. We’ve been together for three weeks now where other teams are just getting to know their teammates. I think that will make a big difference to the way we start early in the season. I think we have a strong team; from our goalie, to our defence and forwards. I think we are a hardworking team and going to push teams to the full 60 minutes each night on a constant basis. We are going to shock teams no doubt.  I’m really excited and ready for the opening weekend. I’m sure the boys are too.

MH: Where would you like your career to take you?

166769_156259717866252_2144511560_nSR: I’ve never really thought about it too much as in “what’s my top goal in hockey”.  Just play it year by year, improve as much as I can every year and enjoy it. The realistic goal of winning a championship with both Hull and Peterborough this year I think is possible with what looks to be both strong teams. I’ve always liked the idea of playing in Australia for a summer  just to experience something that would be a unforgettable. I’ve talked to a few guys who have played over there and they’ve all said how great, wonderful and passionate the fans are!

MH: If you could watch any game with any two teams, who would they be and why?

SR: That’s a tough one. I’d think I’d have to go with the 1997-1998 Vancouver Canucks team with the likes of Pavel Bure, Alexander Mogilny, Mark Messier, Markus Naslund, Trevor Linden, Jyrki Lumme, and Gino Odjick. Purely because it was a team full of spark and speed. (Noteably I was only 2/3 years old!). They’d be up against the more modern 2005/06 Vancouver Canucks team with Naslund, the Sedin twins, Morrison, Bertuzzi, Jovanoski, Kesler. It’s probably the team I liked the most just because of the style of play. Obviously I’m a big Canucks fan!

Special thanks to Scott for taking the time to do this one-on-one! All the best for the upcoming season! I’ll be keeping an eye on you buddy! 😉

Revisiting the age old topic: development of hockey in the UK

index2THE BRITISH ARE COMING, THE BRITISH ARE COMING!

…..or not. The powers that be of the Elite Ice Hockey League came out of a meeting that will input some rule changes starting in the upcoming season. In a nut shell, here they are:

“As from the upcoming season (2014-15), the number of non British-trained players will rise from 11 to 12, but the amount of work-permit players will remain at 11.

The number of non British-trained players will rise to 13 in season 2015-16 and 14 in season 2016-17, with the amount of work-permit players again remaining at 11.

Elite League chairman, Tony Smith, said: “The league agreed that there is a shortage of top-level British players, which keeps the Elite League from being outstanding across the 10 teams.With the demand of the indigenous British player higher than ever in all leagues, and with the potential for EU/dual-national players to develop into national-team players, it was felt this gradual increase would be beneficial to all.”

Oh boy.

There’s two sides to every story and every decision. Let’s try and decipher the other side of the coin before I go into what we already know.

Hockey when you strip off everything until its very first layer is a business. First and foremost above anything else it’s a business. Hockey turned professional back in the early 1900s in order to capitalize revenue on a growing spectator sport and to attempt to control the act of paying star players under the table. Two leagues, the Federal Amateur Hockey League and the Canadian Amateur Hockey League amalgamated in 1905 for this very reason. It was the very beginnings of the National Hockey League that we all know and love today. What does this have to do with the EIHL you ask?

(Photo: Scott Wiggins. www.scottwiggins.co.uk)
(Photo: Scott Wiggins. http://www.scottwiggins.co.uk)

Simple. Imported players are more talented than your British ones, it’s no secret. Talent on the ice means people in the seats; people in the seats means money in the pockets. Before you jump on the greedy owners campaign (which you’re right for the most part), more money allows the EIHL to continue on as a league. The EIHL is not near anywhere stable enough to get by on British talent alone no matter how many players you ice. This rule change gives the league a bit of a safety net for the next couple years in order for you to enjoy the game and the league. Continue reading “Revisiting the age old topic: development of hockey in the UK”

One on One with Grant McPherson of the Milton Keynes Lightning

00326482 - 250x375Grant McPherson is a talented forward for the Milton Keynes Lightning who comes from a country that is not especially noted for it’s hockey prowess: Scotland. The 26 year-old Scot has entered his 8th season with the Lightning and caught up with me to give me some insight on the EPL and growing up loving hockey in Scotland.

March Hockey: First things first, being a native of Scotland which isn’t really known for their hockey, how did you get into the game and who influenced your play growing up?

Grant McPherson: It all started when I was on a family vacation in Washington DC with the family. It was the night we arrived and my mom, dad & I went straight to sleep but my brother was wide awake so he turned on the TV. It just so happened that it was a Pittsburgh Penguins game that came on and he couldn’t turn it off. In the morning, he told us what he watched. We didn’t even know if it existed back home but my dad said he would have a look into it. From there we started going to watch the Fife Flyers and I started playing at the age of 8. Growing up, I guess it was Fife players like Doug Smail, Frank Morris and Mark Morrison I looked up to but Jaromir Jagr was my all time favourite player.

MH: What’s it like being given the promotion of “Alternate Captain”?

McPherson v Swindon 180212GM: It was a massive honour. All throughout juniors I was a ‘C’ or an ‘A’ so I knew I had leadership qualities in me. With this being my 8th season with the Milton Keynes Lightning, I feel like I am now one of the more experienced players in the team and I want to help the younger guys improve as much as I can. It was a proud day when I got that call from my coach Nick Poole. Continue reading “One on One with Grant McPherson of the Milton Keynes Lightning”