Originally published in The Cat’s Whiskers Issue #3 September 2001

  1. The maxim ‘You don’t have to be mad to be a referee but it helps’ has been proved time after time by ex-referee Ken Taggart. The best example is when he decided to ref a league game between Whitley and Murrayfield in 1991 dressed in a santa suit! He was suspended for the following 2 games! Ken also reffed a game at Cardiff wearing sunglasses throughout the match! And to think we moan about Carsons wife wearing a Steelers jersey!
  2. Like many ex-players, Dave Whistle has been smacked in the mouth on a number of occasions over the years and is now what we could politely term as “Dentally Challenged!” Unfortunately for Dave he forgot to use the Polygrip Ultra during a match in 2000. Whilst in mid-tirade against the referee, he shouted so hard that he propelled his dentures over his players heads and onto the ice. The Belfast players were laughing so hard that they couldn’t manage the next line change.
  3. Our good friend Dave Simms is a man of many talents and one of the many strings to his bow includes commentating on Steelers away games for Radio Sheffield. Unfortunately for him, at our old barn radio commentators had to sit amongst the crowd at centre ice. During a commentary during a 1995 Panthers v Steelers play-off game, his incessant droning so annoyed a nearby Panthers fan that he felt it necessary to share his opinions on David with the whole South Yorkshire region. The phrase “You know you Simms, you’re nowt but a c***, you know absolutely f*** all” will always warm my heart!
  4. Whitley Warriors import Dean Richards became the ultimate utility player during a league game in the mid-nineties. As was usual at Whitley Bay, one of the netminders managed to get themselves sent off. The back up was a young kid who unfortunately took a heavy blow to the face from the puck. The Warriors were left with a simple choice, either abandon the game and forfeit the result or get a player to dress as a goalie! Richards was the man chosen, and he acquitted himself well enough in the 3rd period to allow the Warriors to hold on for victory.
  5. Ex-Panther Graham Garden triggered a massive bench clearance whilst playing for Bracknell Bees against the Warriors in the nineties. The funniest site, apart from Garden throwing a chair into the opposite penalty box, was the site of half the warriors bench skating to the Zamboni exit so they could run around the corridor to join the fight from the back of the penalty box! It really had to be seen to be believed!
  6. Panthers coach Paul Adey had a reputation for being one of the cleaner players in the league. This must explain the bizarre reaction he received when he thwacked Newcastle D man Chris Norton over the head with his stick. Adey hit Norton so hard that the stick broke in two! Instead of the usual punch up that would normally have followed, a deathly hush descended on LPS as all the players, fans & officials all asked themselves the same question, ‘Did that really just happen?’ Adey looked at Norton, Norton looked back and both just skated away. The ref was almost apologetic when he gave Adey a  game misconduct.
  7. GB coach Chris McSorely has a penchant for illegal equipment calls which is second to none! During a Bracknell v London game in 1999 he decided he didn’t like the look of Bees netminder Bruno Campese’s pads. The Bees dressing room got wind of the impending call and the larger team members spent most of the interval jumping up and down on the pads to try and squash them down to legal dimensions. McSorely got 2 minutes for delay of the game!
  8. McSorely played a similar trick to Bracknell in the same season. Seeing that the netminders stick looked very tall, he called for a stick measurement. Lo and behold he was right, so the stick plus a Bees player went to the box. Before the game faced off again, McSorely made the same call on the replacement stick, which was also found to be illegal.As the next Bee made his way to the box  you could see the stick boy frantically adjusting the third and final goalie stick before McSorely could make the call again.
  9. The Newcastle Cobras managed to turn up for a game against the Cardiff Devils minus their shirts! The travelling support from Newcastle managed to cobble together enough shirts for the team to wear. Unfortunately, this meant the bizarre sight of  of lots of tight fitting shirts with players autographs all over them and numbers drawn on with permanent marker! There must be an easier way of getting a game worn shirt!
  10. Finally, another stick call, this time involving the Devils against the Panthers in 1998. In a hard fought and finely balanced match, coach Blaisdell called a stick measurement on Devils Martin Lindman. Instead of giving the stick to the officials, Lindman raced to the Devils bench to try and swap the offending stick. Quite how he thought this would escape the attention of the officials and 3,000 Panthers fans is anyones guess, it was like being at a panto with choruses of ‘it’s behind you’ being shouted at the ref! Thankfully, justice was done as Lindman got 2 minutes in the box.

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