Fandom

Ice Hockey Wiki

Durham Wasps

54,159pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk0 Share

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.

Durham Wasps
LogoDurhamWasps.jpg
League British National League
Founded 1947
Home ice Durham Ice Rink
Capacity 2860
Ice size 180ft x 80ft
City Durham, England
Colours Royal Blue and Gold
Head coach Unknown
Ownership Unknown

The Durham Wasps was an ice hockey team located in Durham, England and was one of England's most well-known names in ice hockey. The team was bought by Sir John Hall and moved to the neighbouring city of Newcastle Upon Tyne in August 1996. The Newcastle team, after several changes, is now known as the Newcastle Vipers.

The History of the WaspsEdit

John Frederick James Smith known as "Icy", was a successful ice seller who decided to build an ice rink in Durham.

The rink opened sometime around 1940, and Icy relied on skaters to help out with the maintenance and protection of the rink. During wartime, men around Durham City were scarce, but there was an airbase nearby, Middleton St. George, and Canadian airmen often came to the rink as ice hockey competition was a good way to boost morale.

The hockey at the rink became an attraction and there were other shows such as figure skating.

A mix of contemporary NHL superstars who were, at the time, in service with the Canadian Air Force, came to the rink. These included players such as Bobby Bauer, Woody Dumart, and Milt Schmidt.

The rink had a number of wooden beams running across the middle of the roof to serve as support. Incidentally this structure was an old circus tent, and at the time was the largest big top in Europe. This caused a number of problems for the players, though they were eventually able to adapt. Many people crowded in or around the rink, but Icy was not able to advertise the hockey due to laws by the War Office, which stated that no movement of military personnel was allowed to be advertised.

When World War II ended, many of the Canadians went home, but some remained and Durham's enthusiasm for ice hockey continued. A new rink had to be built for Durham's skaters.

The rink, when it was completed with a permanent roof on the site of the old one cost just over £64,000. Money was saved by buying in a surplus of war coffins and bought many for the rinks seating and stands.

The nails going into the coffins would suggest the beginning and not the end, for the future to come.

The Durham Wasps began their prosperous start to hockey just after the war, and was started by Michael Davey of Ottawa, Canada, along with a few other Canadians, who after the war made their homes in Durham.

In the 1950s, Icy, inspired by the Wasps and the Riverside, started another Ice rink at Whitley Bay, their hockey team called the Bees to start with, then the Braves, and then the Warriors, the name which still survives to this day.

The opening at Whitley Bay started a long lasting rivalry between the two places, and Icy arranged to have games across the border with Scotland on weekends.

Ice hockey remained popular in the sixties and seventies, but it exploded with popularity between the eighties and nineties, and the period from around 1982 to 1992 was one to remember for the Wasps. In this Period alone they won the Heineken Championship 4 times, the league championship 6 times, the Norwich Cup 3 times, and many other trophies like the Autumn and Castle Eden Cups' on many other occasions. The Durham Wasps dominated the British League for over 10 years.

In a few years of their greatest era, the Wasps fell into financial difficulties, and the Rink as well as the Wasps were bought by Sir John Hall, then owner of the Newcastle United Football Club. In a plan to have a sporting excellency, he moved the Wasps to Sunderland, while the new Rink was being built in Newcastle. A replacement team was established in Durham called the Durham City Wasps who played in the English League and attracted crowds of between 600 and 1200 to the new cheap and cheerful brand of Durham hockey. After a season of playing out of the Crowtree Leisure Centre, the Newcastle United owned Wasps were taken to Newcastle to the New Telewest Arena. The Wasps were then re-named the Newcastle Cobras, and in the next few years changed hands and owners from the Cobras, to the Riverkings, to the Jesters, and now the Vipers. Despite the fact that they now have nothing to do with the old club many Wasps fans still shun ice hockey in Newcastle.

The Riverside Rink closed on the 8th of July 1996, and re-opened as a bowling alley around a year later. The Wasps' era had finally ended. The building is now earmarked for demolition following the closure of a health club situated in the former rink in early 2006. The bowling alley remains open. Since 1996, a campaign for the construction of a new ice rink in County Durham has been spearheaded by the County Durham Ice Foundation, a pressure group made up of ice skaters, ice hockey fans and players.

A one-off game also took place between the Wasps and former local rivals Whitley Warriors on Sunday 4 May 2008 at Whitley Bay Ice Rink commemorating what would have been the 60th anniversary of the club, and in support of the ongoing campaign to bring back an ice rink. Over 2,300 fans turned up to witness this one-night-only encounter which saw Wasps players icing once again including the Johnson brothers, Mario Belanger, Ivor Bennett, Stephen Foster, John Hutley and Karl Walker. The reformed Wasps team won the game 8-4.

New Arena DevelopmentEdit

Plans were announced in August 2008 for a new arena to be built on the outskirts of the city at Belmont. The proposed development, planned to open in December 2009, is centred around a 3,000 seater olympic-sized ice rink and it is hoped the venue could be ready for the 20010/11 ice hockey season, heralding a potential return of the Wasps to Durham.

HonoursEdit

Heineken Premier League Champions

  • 1985, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1992

Heineken British Championship Winners

  • 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992

Autumn Cup Winners

  • 1984, 1988, 1989, 1991

Notable Wasps PlayersEdit

Netminders

  • #20 Flag of the United Kingdom Chris Salem
  • #29 Flag of the United Kingdom Frankie Killen
  • #33 Flag of the United Kingdom Stephen Foster
  • #25 Flag of the United Kingdom Neil Campbell

Defencemen

Forwards

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Dundee Rockets
Premier League Champions
1984-85, 1985-86
Succeeded by
Murrayfield Racers
Preceded by
Dundee Rockets
Autumn Cup Winners
1984-85
Succeeded by
Murrayfield Racers
Preceded by
Murrayfield Racers
Playoff Champions
1986-87, 1987-88
Succeeded by
Nottingham Panthers
Preceded by
Nottingham Panthers
Autumn Cup Winners
1987-88, 1988-89
Succeeded by
Murrayfield Racers
Preceded by
Murrayfield Racers
Premier League Champions
1988-89
Succeeded by
Cardiff Devils
Preceded by
Cardiff Devils
Premier League Champions
1990-91, 1991-92
Succeeded by
Cardiff Devils
Preceded by
Cardiff Devils
Playoff Champions
1990-91, 1991-92
Succeeded by
Cardiff Devils
Preceded by
Murrayfield Racers
Autumn Cup Winners
1990-91
Succeeded by
Nottingham Panthers



This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Durham Wasps. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).


Also on Fandom

Random Wiki