Lee Valley Lions
City: London, United Kingdom
League: ENIHL (south)
Founded: 1984
Head Coach: Ian Prince
Captain: James Hatfull

The Lee Valley Lions are an ice hockey team based in London where they play out of the Lee Valley Ice Centre They are the senior Ice Hockey team at the rink which they share with the Lee Valley Junior Ice Hockey Club, the Eastern Stars and London Devils recreational teams and, the University of London Union Ice hockey Club.

Original Lions 1984-1995 Edit

They were originally formed in early 1984, and after a series of friendlies the 1984/85 season was their first in competition. They competed in Heineken Division 1 where they finished a credible 6th. The next season though the Lions dominated the league along with Solihull and Telford to come an agonising 2nd place on the last day of the season mainly due to a 6-7 loss in their final game at third placed Telford, but despite the disappointment the team ended the season on a high by winning the Division One Trophy.

After this narrow failure the Lions never reached the same heights again. Although in 1986 they recorded what probably remains the biggest win in the clubs history with a 3-2 victory over Premier Division Nottingham Panthers in the Autumn Cup.

In 1990 British Engine became the main sponsor of the Lions prompting a change in the teams colours from the original colours of white, green and blue to red, black and white (this remained the team colours until operations ceased in 1995) but the new sponsorship could not change their form as the Lions slowly descended the league tables until they disbanded in 1995 for financial reasons.

The New Lions (2005-2008) Edit

In 2005 the team was reformed by Junior Head Coach Eddie Joseph to compete in the English National Ice Hockey League, bringing back former player Nicky Braithwaite, ex-junior Paul O'Neill and ex-Haringey Greyhound Kwabina Oppong-Addai to go with juniors from the current system like James Scott Joseph and Grant Hutcheon.

In their return season the team struggled and failed to register any points, including close games with local rivals Haringey Greyhounds and the Cardiff ENL Devils. But inexperience showed against accomplished clubs like the Invicta Dynamos and Basingstoke Buffalo with only heavy defeats to show for their efforts. The Lions finished bottom of the league with a record of 0-20-0.

The 2006/07 season rang a lot of changes with coach Sergey Smolenko coming in and former Chelmsford Chieftains captain James Hatfull joining to bolster the team's experience. There was a big improvement as the Lions became a stiffer opponent although lacklustre performances on the road again lead to heavy defeats. Six times the Lions had double figures put past them (including a 19-2 defeat in Basingstoke). In the end the team finished third bottom with 12 points from 22 games (Cardiff withdrew from the league with all their results expunged) and a record of 5-15-2 including notable wins over Oxford (twice) and Milton Keynes.

In 2007/08, Less players were brought in as the core of younger players stayed on. Although joining them were former Haringey Greyhounds Nick Alley (younger brother of netminder George) and Alistair Band, American defenceman (and new captain) Scott Pollak and more notably former London Racer JJ McGrath from Wightlink Raiders. With registration and other paperwork issues holding some players back, a weakened Lions bench began the season in Bracknell with an 8-1 defeat to a much fancied Hornets side. Road form (or lack of) was the main criticism of the team throughout the season, of the seven games won. Only two were won on the road, one of these was a surprise 4-3 win in Basingstoke (having lost 16-6 at home to the Buffalo just a month before), the other was an abandoned (due to player injury) 5-3 win at basement boys Solent & Gosport. Other disappointments included a 5-4 home loss to Haringey despite dominating their London rivals. A final day surprise was on the cards at home to eventual champions Invicta but the Dynamos were able to reply from 2-0 down to win 5-3. The Lions ended the year with a record of 7-11-0 in a much shortened season (due to the Southern league being split in two).

Success at last Edit

The weekend of the 10th and 11th of May 2008 the Lions travelled down to the Isle of Wight for the Vectis Tigers first "Ice Cube Tournament" involving an array of ENIHL and recreational teams. After going unbeaten and winning their group on goal difference ahead of the hosts, the Lions then faced former EPL side Solihull Barons in the semi final, winning 4-1. Then after a break of twenty minutes, an exhausted Lions team somehow mustered the energy to thrash fellow rink tenants London University Dragons 7-0, Joe Berry scoring six of the sides goals.

It was the first silverware since winning the old Division 1 trophy in 1985, and the clubs first since the reformation of the junior section in 1998.

2009/10 Roster Edit

03 Calum Heath
04 Phillip Carson
07 Adam Peach
08 Ian Courtney
09 David Tyler
10 Glen Roper
11 Karim Kerbouche
12 Andrew Holdaway (A)
15 Richard Hodge
16 Graham Lewis
17 Yassin Ahrazem
19 Joss Clark
22 James Hatfull (C)
25 David Dunnage
26 Lee Stobie
31 Angela Taylor (A)
32 James Scott-Joseph
37 Ruth Cattell (NM)
44 Robyn Maby (NM)

Notable Former Players Edit

Janne Lehti
Vesa Pennanen
Doug McEwen
Darcy Cahill
Fred Perlini
Dave Ducharme
Eddie Joseph
Jaroslav Lycka
Steve James

Retired Jerseys Edit

  1. 2-Eddie Joseph

External linksEdit

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Lee Valley Lions. 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).

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