Fan Voice with Coast to Coast: The U.K.’s #1 blog for NIHL action

Michael Black runs Coast to Coast which is an independent blog that is solely dedicated to the United Kingdom’s National Ice Hockey League. The NIHL is seen as a third tier stepping stone to the EPIHL and EIHL. It’s also features stars from years past on the tail end of their careers. Here’s an interesting look at the state of hockey in the NIHL and a look at the Blackburn Hawks.

March Hockey: Where are you located and how did you get into hockey?

Michael Black: I’m based in Blackburn – around 30 miles north of Manchester. I’d always been a fan of the NHL and when Blackburn Arena opened in 1991 I started watching the Hawks. There was a steady stream of quality imports back then – Fred Perlini, Oleg Sinkov, Steve Chartrand to name a few. It was impossible not to get hooked.

MH: What makes you cover a league like the NIHL instead of the pro leagues?

indexMB: I initially started Coast to Coast as a blog covering just the Hawks. Interest in the site from around NIHL quickly grew, so I took the decision to expand the coverage across the whole league. During the season the site also includes content from the Elite League and EPL, but the main focus is NIHL North with some NIHL South too. In just over two years the site has grown from nothing to around 10,000 hits per month. While there were plenty of people covering the bigger leagues, coverage of NIHL wasn’t great. I’d like to think Coast to Coast has gone some way to filling that gap in the market and help increase exposure of the sport at a lower level. Continue reading “Fan Voice with Coast to Coast: The U.K.’s #1 blog for NIHL action”


Fan Voice: Pete Lewis and the Chelmsford Chieftains

ChelmsfordChieftainsThe Chelmsford Chieftains are a team located in Chelmsford, Essex and after a few seasons of play in the EPIHL, the decision was made to have them play in the English National League. Since that decision in 2008 they’ve been a dominating team.

March Hockey: Where are you located and how did you get into hockey?

Pete Lewis: I am based in Harlow, Essex and I follow the Chelmsford Chieftains. I originally watched the ISL’s London Knights, but when they folded I needed a new team to follow and having been to a Chieftains V Knights friendly, I naturally turned to follow the Chieftains. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs in the last 10years or so, but the recent seasons have seen things settle down and we’re regularly winning trophies now.

MH: What makes you a passionate fan of the Chelmsford Cheiftains?

PL: It’s such a great club to be a part of. The players are completely accessible to anyone, the club is passionate and dedicated to their fans and giving them all the news first before the media get the news. We’re out in the community as often as possible and we also work tirelessly with the local ice hockey Academy to bring on local youngsters into the senior side. This year I believe we have about 65% of the squad have come through the junior system in Chelmsford.

MH: Who’s one player on the team to look out for and why?

803_7tgdr46cjbPL: It’s really hard to pick one player from the team as all of them stand out for one reason or another. If you did a straw poll of 100 fans of the club who their stand out players is/will be then you’d likely get the whole squad mentioned at least once! We lost arguably the best player to come out of the junior system in Chelmsford ice hockey history in Danny Hammond this summer, but his more than capable replacement is the return of Matt Turner from London Raiders. Matty is a fine two-way forward and is exciting to watch and should probably be one of, if not the, leading scorer this season for the club. Honourable mentions, on a personal level, also go to Alex Green, Michael Ranby, Ben Clements, Ross Brears and Alex Staples. Continue reading “Fan Voice: Pete Lewis and the Chelmsford Chieftains”