|League||Elite Ice Hockey League|
|ENIHL Affiliate||Coventry Blaze (ENL)|
|Solihull Blaze1996-2000Coventry Blaze2000-Present|
|City||Coventry United Kingdom|
|Team Colours||Blue and White|
|Head coach||Paul Thompson|
|Owners||Coventry Blaze Ltd|
|Team Captain||Adam Calder|
|League Championships||2004–05, 2006-07, 2007-08|
|Challenge Cups||2004–05, 2006-07|
Coventry Blaze are a British ice hockey team based in Coventry, England. They are the current Elite Ice Hockey League Champions, having won the title for the third time in four years on March 9, 2008.
Originally from the neighbouring town of Solihull, the Blaze rose quickly through the various leagues of British Ice Hockey. In 2000–01, in order to attract a new and larger fanbase, the Blaze made the decision to move to the 3,000 capacity Coventry Skydome.
They went on to become one of the more successful British National League (BNL) teams. In 2002–03, they won the league and playoff double, completing the playoffs unbeaten.
In the summer of 2003, Coventry joined with two other BNL sides, three former Superleague sides and two new sides in a brand new Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL).
The core of the BNL roster was retained, and joined by such players as, eventual player of the year, Steve O'Brien, Steve Gallace and Graham Schlender. Blaze eventually finished third in the League behind Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers. They failed to qualify for the end of season playoffs after performing badly.
In the summer of 2004, Paul Thompson undertook a re-building of the roster in a bid to improve upon the previous season. Steve Carpenter, Michael Tasker, Shaun Johnson, Hilton Ruggles and Mathias Soderstrom were dropped, and Steve Chartrand, announced his retirement. Gallace and O' Brien also departed. Dan Carlson, Adam Calder, Doug Schueller, Pavol Mihalik, Neal Martin and Andre Payette joined the club, as well as Wade Belak of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Blaze claimed their first Elite League title on March 5 2005 following a 5-1 victory over the London Racers. They also won the 2005 Challenge Cup following an 11-5 aggregate victory over Cardiff Devils. On April 10 2005 the Blaze completed a Grand Slam of all three EIHL trophies with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Nottingham Panthers in the playoff final.
Netminder Jody Lehman was voted to the EIHL All Star Team at the end of the season along with Dan Carlson, Adam Calder, Wade Belak and the overall League MVP, Neal Martin. In addition, Doug Schueller was voted to the British Ice Hockey Writers Association All Star Team and Tait made the British All Star Team.
Wade Belak returned to the NHL and Calder and Carlson left for Sweden and Germany respectively. Coupled with the retirement of both Schlender and McNamara, the Blaze embarked upon the defence of their three titles with a radically changed roster.
In October 2005 the club competed in the Continental Cup in Grenoble, eventually losing in their final game against the host team. Blaze began by defeating Herning Blue Fox of Denmark in a shootout and followed up with a win over the Amsterdam Tigers.
Upon their return, Dan Welch was transferred from the Nottingham Panthers, and Calder returned from Sweden, but Blaze lost both the Challenge Cup Final, to the Cardiff Devils, and the final of the British Ice Hockey Cup, to Sheffield Steelers, on penalty shots. They also lost the League title to the Belfast Giants.
Thompson started off the season by acquiring Canadian defenceman Reid Simonton from Herning Blue Fox, and re-signing Dan Carlson from EHC Munich to re-unite with Adam Calder. Hutchins departed for Belfast Giants and Cheverie and Welch joined Morzine Avoriaz Penguins in France.
Replacements arrived in the form of Danny Stewart from UHL side Danbury Trashers, and AHL veteran Sylvain Cloutier. Another former NHL player, Rumun Ndur joined Samy Nasreddine and the returning James Pease and Neal Martin in the defence.
The side qualified for the final of the Challenge Cup for the 3rd successive season, conceding far fewer goals than all of their Elite League counterparts.
Paul Thompson's team then went on to the quarter finals of the Elite League playoffs. They played 8th place Newcastle Vipers and trailed 1-0 after the 1st leg in Newcastle.
Many of the previous squad re-signed, including netminder Trevor Koenig, Barrie Moore, Adam Calder, Rumun Ndur, Michael Tasker, Stephen Fone, Tom Pease and James Archer.
In addition to these, GB captain Jonathan Weaver signed from the Newcastle Vipers, Russ Cowley rejoined the club after a year spent with the Cardiff Devils and forward Curtis Huppe was signed, having been released by the Belfast Giants before the end of the 2006-07 season. The final import slot was taken by fan favourite Mathias Söderström, after a three year absence from the side.
On March 9 2008, Blaze clinched their 3rd Elite Ice Hockey League Championship in 4 seasons, after beating Belfast Giants 4-2 at the Skydome. Curtis Huppe scored the Championship winning goal against his former side.
On March 18 2008, Blaze won the British Knockout Cup, having lost the previous two finals to Sheffield Steelers and Cardiff Devils. Blaze recovered from a two goal deficit against Basingstoke Bison in the final period of the 2nd Leg to clinch the tie 8–6 on aggregate. Dan Carlson led the scoring netting two goals in a five point game. Blaze finished the season as runners up in the play off competition. Having disposed of Edinburgh Capitals in the Quarter Finals and Newcastle Vipers in the Semi's, Blaze lost 2-0 in the final to the Sheffield Steelers.
On Monday 28 April 2008, Blaze made young British defenceman, Ben O' Connor their first new signing of the off season. O'Connor had played for both Basingstoke Bison and Edinburgh Capitals in the previous season. Leigh Jamieson was recruited from the Belfast Giants at the beginning of May, having spent 5 years in Northern Ireland.
On Thursday 15 May 2008, Blaze announced the signing of former Phoenix Coyotes 1st round draft pick, Scott Kelman. Shortly afterwards, Blaze confirmed that fans favourite Dan Carlson had penned a new 2 year deal. Following the departure of Neal Martin and Curtis Huppe, this was a key retention for the club, with Carlson having registered a League leading 81 assists in 2007/08.
Blaze added J.F. Perras to their roster following the departure of Trevor Koenig and also acquired the services of Carlyle Lewis from Belfast Giants. Greg Wood was captured from Basingstoke Bison, and the club confirmed the retention of Barrie Moore, Mathias Soderstrom and Tom Watkins as the team building continued.
On August 5th, Blaze replaced Cloutier with another Sylvain.... Sylvain Deschatelets formerly of the Cardiff Devils, Paul Thompson feels he is a similar player to the departing captain, a fantastic replacement for Cloutier.
|Number||Player||Catches||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|29||Jean-Francois Perras||L||2008||Embrun, Ontario, Canada|
|31||Stephen Fone||L||2006||Rotherham, England|
|Number||Player||Shoots||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|6||Leigh Jamieson||R||2008||Milton Keynes, England|
|14||Jonathan Weaver - A||L||2007||Sunderland, England|
|20||Tommy Watkins||R||2000||Durham, England|
|28||Corey LeClair||R||2008||Riverview, MI, U.S.A|
|61||Ben O'Connor||L||2008||Durham, England|
|77||Mathias Söderström||L||2007||Hallstavik, Sweden|
|Number||Player||Shoots||Position||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|7||Joe Henry||R||RW||2005||Solihull, England|
|8||Greg Wood||R||RW||2008||Sheffield, England|
|9||Scott Kelman||L||C||2008||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|17||Russ Cowley||L||LW||2007||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|18||Barrie Moore - A||L||LW||2005||London, Ontario, Canada|
|21||Sylvain Deschatelets||L||C||2008||Blainville, Quebec, Canada|
|24||Carlyle Lewis||R||RW||2008||Middleton, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|25||Adam Calder - C||R||RW||2005||Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada|
|26||Dan Carlson||L||C||2006||Edina, MN, U.S.A.|
|39||Danny Stewart - A||L||LW||2006||Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada|