Posts Tagged ‘Bristol Pitbulls’

Summer is a state of mind. On holiday in Finland

Summer is a state of mind. On holiday in Finland

What a manic couple of weeks. I’ve finally had a chance to relax and unwind a little bit whilst holidaying in Finland and then next week somewhere in the South of France.

So, a couple of updates:

In case you hadn’t seen on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram, I have signed for the Bristol Pitbulls for another season, which will be my sixth with the team. Additionally, I have a sponsorship agreement in place with the guys from Cross Check Clothing, so I thought that it would be pertinent for me to give a little bit of insight into my decision and the sponsorship agreement.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I had toyed with the idea of going out on the top and after winning, but after a week of resting on my laurels and getting on the ice relatively early, I felt that I still had loads to give and plenty of miles left in the engine. I think physically, I am way ahead of where I was last year, or even the year before, so the base carrying on was definitely there. Even if I had those thoughts, rest assured, my decision to carry on playing is not going to be for just giggles. I still want to compete and most of all I still want to win. If I wanted to play for fun, I wouldn’t have signed at this level.

When I got word from Richie asking me about my plans, it was an easy decision in at the end. I think my words were “I’m in..”

Back for more with the Pitbulls, this time in partnership with Cross Check Clothing

Back for more with the Pitbulls, this time in partnership with Cross Check Clothing

The Pitbulls have given me a lot in this game and I consider myself fortunate to be playing for the same team that gave me a shot for the sixth season. Usually players move around and drop off the map, but I feel lucky to carry on playing for the team I signed way back when. There’ s a further back story to this, but I will let you know about that if that goal is reached

One of the main reasons why I wanted to sign with the Pitbulls again was the atmosphere in the club. I’m not talking about the locker room atmosphere, but the way the fans interact with us and the invaluable work all the people working behind the scenes to make the team possible. Given the circumstances that we play under, there is this underlying ‘punk DIY’ feel to it, which is cool. The easy option for the owners would have been to fold, but they’ve kept going and together, we have some amazing memories and stories to share in the years to come.

The second reason, I was that I keep getting challenged by the coaches. I think since joining the team, I have developed as a player and as a result I’ve become a more versatile on the ice. I know I’m not the flashiest guy out there, but when I get something that I need to do, I’ll go and do it. To me, it’s all about making sure that we succeed as a team and that everything I do on the ice helps us win games.

In the years I’ve been with the team, I’ve obviously made friends in and outside the locker room, and so has my family. The team has embraced my family in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined. I feel fortunate that I got to share some of the most amazing moments of my career with them. But it’s not just my family. I feel that the whole team and the fans are part of one big family and seeing the amount of support we have, no matter where we turn up to play, it’s just indescribable. Like I said in the post where I was looking at the game from the fans’ point of view. To see how the fans live with the team vicariously through every triumph and through every low is truly special.

What of my own personal goals? I said that to me, the number of goals I score don’t really matter. Where yes, I love to score goals and I’d love to be able to be a point per game type of player, to me it is more important that the team succeeds and that everything I do, helps us push for the titles again and bring home more silverware. Eveything that I do on and off the ice must help the team and help us succeed.

The only ‘goal’ I’ve set, is to push to become a top-6 forward on the team. I’ve trained hard the summer and feel like I’ve got the fitness and the stamina to log big minutes.

Holiday leg day action in Finland. #TEAMCROSSCHECK

Holiday leg day action in Finland. #TEAMCROSSCHECK

The partnership with Cross Check Clothing: I’ve been a fan of Cross Check Clothing for a few years and have their shirts in my wardrobe already. The guys have created a brand of clothing that really encapsulates the hockey lifestyle, whether you’re a fan or a player. Where there are maybe a few brands that do a similar thing, but Cross Check Clothing have taken a different stance to it and I’m proud to be able to spread the word further this season. I like to call it a partnership as I really want to help expose the brand to a wider audience. For me, it is important to work with people and products I believe in, and I believe in what Cross Check Clothing are doing and what they are creating.

You can take a look at the gear from Cross Check Clothing at:

SuccessisbuiltFans always expect that their teams perform well – and ideally win every game – and fans have the absolute right to want success. There are expectations that teams and players need to meet, week in and week out. There are the expectations for the entire team from the fans and on an individual level, the expectations from the coaching staff.


Success is something that every player wants. For their team and for themselves. Otherwise, why play the game if you don’t want to succeed and not feel the elation of winning a game. Success is something that doesn’t magically happen on a game night. It is a long, drawn-out process throughout countless hours of work, sweat and pain. Success is built when there are no eyes on you. It happens at the gym, it happens on the roads, it happens on the bike. It even happens on the trainers table or with the physiotherapist. Success is built when you are on the ice with your team. It is built in bag skates, flow drills, set plays. It is built by countless and countless of repetitions of weights, drills, shots, jumps and miles pedalled on a bike.


Success is not something that is achieved overnight. Players can’t expect to be successful just by turning up to training and have the expectation that their effort on the ice will guarantee them success in the long run. The hockey season is a gruelling ride, with all its bumps and bruises and frustrations. What the fans see, is the culmination of all the work that has been taking place out of sight.


Success requires commitment. It requires hard work. It requires sacrifice. It requires discipline. It requires a goal, something that unifies a group of individuals to come together and work for that goal. It means leaving personal differences aside and playing for the logo on the front of your jersey and for the goal of becoming a champion.


The commitment fuels motivation and success, that success will player through a rock when it comes to crunch time. But all this underpinned by the work that each player does on and off the ice when the stands are empty and when no one is watching you.


The signs of success, are not seen on the ice in a 60 minute game. It is seen in the sweat dripping on to the gym floor and on to the ice.  

A few days ago, in case you missed it on the Bristol Pitbulls’ Facebook page, my return to was confirmed. I’m really happy to be back in Bristol and it should be an amazing season of hockey to come. The team is looking really good on the ice already. 

After the initial anxieties of where to play, I’m now looking forward to actually getting going and get to playing games. It took me a while to find my legs (and hands for that matter) when I got back on the ice and the first training session felt like I needed a GPS (Sat Nav) on the ice to know where I was going. 

I’ve also finished my off-season/pre season workouts at the gym, but as you all know, hockey just doesn’t stop there. I’ve rested for this week and starting next week I’m going to start hitting the gym again. I will actually look into doing a post of the Off-season in numbers, might be fun to read and fun for me to quantify the number of time I invested into this season. Though to be honest, it doesn’t matter really. I love putting in the work for hockey and getting a good sweat going as I know that it will help me immensely on the ice. 


I’m still in the running for the Sherwood hockey sponsorship as well in the competition so if you wouldn’t mind voting for me at: 

The blog has been dormant of late, but hopefully that is about to change. I have had many different posts in the works, but for one reason or another I thought that they were complete drivel and decided to ditch them along the way.

It’s with some joy and some sorrow that I write this post as it is the ‘end of season roundup’ that I’ve done a few times in the past. The 2011-2012 season was pretty eventful. I read through a few of the older posts I made, I had one goal for the year and that was to have an injury free season, but that didn’t quite work out the way I planned it. As you might recall I twisted my ankle in May and in October I went under the knife to have an operation to fix the damage that I had done. It was unfortunate, but something I had to do as my ankle swelled up to a size of a tennis ball after I took my skate off. It was also getting in the way of life both on and off the ice.

Then the other injury obviously was the concussion I sustained from the car accident. In the process of the car accident I also hurt my neck, which is still giving me grief and as my physio therapist reckons I’ve torn the rotator cuff in my shoulder.  So for that goal we’ll just have to put a big red cross on and mark it as unsuccessful.

I think this season has taught me more than any season before, though I say that pretty much after every year, but there is something different about this year. I think I grew as a person (que fat jokes) and as a player, but perhaps most importantly I feel I became mentally tougher. Specially after our game on the Isle of Wight. For some reason that place is always difficult for me as I always seem to come away from the island frustrated and really pissed off. We won the game there which was great, but for me personally, I came away from that game and felt like I had zero confidence in my ability or skills as a player. I had to re-focus myself again and do some soul searching to find out what it was that I liked about the game and do a lot of visualisation to get the good vibe of playing well back. From there things started to fall into place again.

It’s lows like that and how you manage them that help you become mentally stronger and a better player. Things like that often happen in hockey and they can be pretty mind boggling, but if you really want to play the game and enjoy it, you have to refocus your mind and commit to it 100%.

The other thing I think helped me grow was the captaincy. I was not expecting the guys to vote for me and to be honest when it was clear that I was to be wearing the ‘C’, I had an “oh shit” moment. I had no idea what it is like to be a captain or what the responsibilities were. I think I was more afraid of letting the guys down than anything else. It was a learning curve at first, but once the season rolled on, it became easier and easier after each game. Sure there were times when I lashed out and said things I shouldn’t have, or didn’t always have the most encouraging things to say if we were down in a game, but all in all, it wasn’t as daunting as I feared. I’m not going to start grading myself as that would just be pompous and it’s up to the guys on the team to grade me.

Overall, I think that our season has been a success. There have been times when we were out played and times when we didn’t turn up to play. Going from last years last place and leaping to a solid mid table finish is a great feat. All in all there have been some great character players on the team. We maintained the core of the team from last year and added some new guys into the mix who fit in really well. We had guys who battled for us the whole year, some through injuries and guys making 120 mile round trips just to get to training, which just goes to show the dedication the guys have for the sport.

As a team we improved, a few individuals really picked up their game and improved steadily throughout the season and we saw new guys chipping in those crucial points/goals. We also had guys on the team that were willing to do anything and everything to help us win. I personally think that this team has the chance to do something great down the line. Hockey is a consistent learning process and as long as we can push ourselves as a team and as individuals, there is an infinite number of things we can achieve, however, if we are happy with what we’ve got, we will become stagnant.

Hockey does take a lot away from you and asks a lot of balancing between work and other social engagements. The six months that the season goes on for puts a certain strain on relationships as well. It takes us players away from our loved ones and our loved ones planning their lives around our schedules. I therefore would like to extend a thanks to my wife for making the sacrifices she makes to enable me to play and the same applies to the other hockey girlfriends/wife’s of my teammates.

As an overall thought, I tweeted a few days ago saying that both the ENL leagues need playoffs and it is a very valid point. I had a chat with Boone Jenner, a Columbus Blue Jackets prospect and he asked how do we play with seemingly nothing to play for. We definitely need playoffs and a proper promotion/relegation system in place for the league. It is hockey we play, not soccer and we need a hockey style playoffs in place, not soccer where team on top is the champion.

So now what then? Well I’ve got the off season/dry land to get on with. I’ll do the same as last year and start skating in June but before that it will be gym, running, plyometrics and other exercises. Most of all, I’m looking forward to some downtime and catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while and take my mind off hockey, apart from the Stanley Cup playoffs and for the World Championships.

Hockey doesn’t just start in September and the work we do for it doesn’t end in March. It’s a 365 day a year process that doesn’t give you a break. It is a sport that never stops, even if we are not on the ice. Once you’ve been bitten by the bug and want to improve and play at the height of your ability it is a process that means, sweat, pain, aching muscles and making the gym and the road your best friends.

Like HBO’s 24/7 said; Hockey engraves itself on the body. Boy don’t I know it, but man do I love it.

So, I’ve finally found out what is wrong with my knee, after three long and increasingly painful years.

I met today with Dr. Adrian Wilson from the Hampshire Clinic, who I must say is one of the nicest Orthopedic specialists I’ve met. If I could’ve had my choice of a doctor, I’d chosen the Finnish chap, whose name escapes me, but given that he lost his licence due to a stroke I’ll go with the best option, which is Dr. Wilson. What he said about my previous diagnosis’ was that the pain definitely was not in my head and that he commended my toughness on competing and playing through what has been intense pain.

So after an hours consultation and tests, he was able to tell me that everything wasn’t right with my knee and that I more than likely have two things wrong. 1) I have torn the meniscus, which is quite regular in hockey or 2) when I first injured the leg, I got a microfracture in the bone, which did not show up on the X-rays and due to my rigorous training, I have never replaced the tissue on top of the bone.

I’m going to have an MRI in a few weeks to confirm the diagnosis and then go under the knife for an arthoscopy.

So how do I feel about this? Where I had anticipated that it would be something like this and I prepared myself mentally for the diagnosis, I still find myself depressed about it. Meniscal injuries are not career ending, but I guess the main thing that hacks me off is that I’ve waited to play in the cup for a long time and now part of, what was hopefully going to be a show case year, will be going to waste. Well not to waste but by eating popcorn in the press box. OK so I’m going to have some time off, but atleast I know what has been wrong.

However, when I weigh up the pros and cons, post operation I am hopefully able to return to an even better level of play as I have no hindrance with the knee.

Also another big pro is that I have plenty of time to recover and recouperate for potential try outs. I have been looking at teams that I would like to play for and at the moment Isle of Wight, Basingstoke, Bracknell, Bristol and Swindon are on the top of my list.

So there we have it. Three years of waiting and an hours consultation, I know what is bugging me. Just further proof that Money talks and Bullshit walks.

Weirdly I got complemented again on my muscle tone and bulk in my legs. Are all these doctors hitting on me?