Category Archives: Media
Here we have a short interview by Lewis Coleman of East Sheffield Sport with our own Mike Rhodes.
LC – When did you first get involved with the Steelkings?
MR – It’ll be three years ago this summer. I’ve been a hockey fan for a long time and one of my oldest friends, Jake, is the Steelkings’ Chairman. He was bugging me to come down and give para ice-hockey a try for a while and the club runs some learn-to-sledge sessions from time to time where anyone can come down and give the sport a go. I went along to one of those, loved it, and they haven’t found a way to get rid of me since!
LC – With the season due to start in May and with the League and play off title to defend are you disappointed that this now looks unlikely?
MR – I think the season is officially off now. It is disappointing but there’s little point in getting frustrated about things you can’t control and you can look for positives: we were adding a second team, the Steelking Bees (or Steel Stings) to the league this year and this gives a lot of new players that extra time to train – once we’re back on the ice of course – and to get up to speed. A couple of the team had injuries and now there is extra recovery time. We want to retain our titles and win trophies of course, but our bigger aim is to grow the profile of this club and the sport and we can still be doing things towards that. And hopefully later on this year if and when things get back to normal we can do some sort of friendly game or there might kind of tournament with the other British teams so it might not be a completely wasted year game wise. So it is a disappointment sure, but I’m more disappointed by things that have actually happen in games rather than in games that will never happen.
LC – Sport isn’t just about exercise, how much are you missing the camaraderie with your teammates?
MR – Yeah that’s difficult. Everyone was really welcoming when I first started and we really are like one big family, plus there a few people on that team that I’ve been friends with since I was a kid. We’re lucky in a way that with social media, instant messaging, things like Skype, we can all stay in touch but it isn’t the same. We used to do a lot together socially. And we usually train on a Friday night. No matter how bad a week you might have had you always knew you were seeing friends and letting off some steam on the ice for an hour or two and I miss that. I’m sure we all do.
LC – Is the inclusiveness of para Ice Hockey something you enjoy and would recommend to others?
MR – Absolutely. The sport is designed to be all inclusive and the Steelkings really embrace that. The sport welcomes disabled and able-bodied players, and it welcomes anyone regardless of gender, age, sexuality, religion, or any other characteristic and the Steelkings are the most welcoming group of people I’ve ever known. It’s a huge, huge selling point of the sport and of the club for me and I know what that acceptance and those friendships you can build with teammates can do for people.
LC – What are the challenges of working alongside training and playing matches for the Steelkings?
MR – To be honest I’ve been pretty lucky in that regard so far. My work have been understanding in letting me leave early for training if I need to and make my time back elsewhere and all the matches so far have been on weekends. I know it’s a bigger struggle for some of the team but I’ve been fine so far.
LC – How are you keeping yourself occupied without being able to train and play matches with the Steelkings?
MR – With a lot of films! Seriously, whilst I can’t go to the gym and we can’t train properly, I still have my gear so I can practice stick handling – but with tennis balls not pucks. I don’t have weights at home but I have been doing cardio and stretches. And I can re-watch games. It’s not ideal, but again it’s about looking for the positives and making the best out of what you have.
In case you missed it, we’ve been nominated for ‘Sporting Achievement of the Year’ in the Yorkshire Choice Awards!
But we now need your help!
Please click on the link below and to head to the YCA website where you can vote for the Sheffield Steelkings!
(Our very own Barry Grayson and Andy Atkinson are also up for awards! Baz for ‘Inspirational Individual of the Year’ and Andy for the ‘Kate Granger for Outstanding Achievement’ – Due to their involvement in para ice hockey and the club! Please vote for them at the same time).
If you can share this with everybody you know that would also be amazing! Thank you from everyone at the Steelkings! We really appreciate it!
Following another great training session last night, we were joined on the ice by Pete and Ryan from the wonderful Cross Check Clothing!
We are very pleased to announce that for the third year running Cross Check Clothing will be sponsoring the team and we couldn’t be happier 😊
Famous around the UK and abroad for their ice hockey inspired clothing, it’s great to have the ‘CCC’ team as part of the Steelking family.
We thank Pete, Ryan and all of the Cross Check Clothing team for their continued support.
Check out their awesome threads by clicking the link to their website here:
We’re back on the ice training again tonight, but before we do we have the pleasure of announcing Matrix Frames & Displays Limited as a new sponsor for the 2017 season.
Those of you who follow ice hockey in Sheffield will probably be more than aware of Matrix Frames already, but for those who aren’t they offer a fully bespoke mounting and framing service as well as authentic autographed memorabilia, you can visit their workshop and showroom in Beighton or you can call them on 0114 293 9939.
We still have other sponsorship opportunities available, if you would like more information please drop us an email at email@example.com
There has always been friendly competition within the BSHA Planet Ice League, but this year sees what might be the first family-based rivalry.
Anyone familiar with the Steelkings (or Sheffield ice hockey in general) will probably know Jake Oakley, and most of those people will also be familiar with his dad, John, even if they don’t realise it. You’ve probably seen them at ice hockey games around the country, and sometimes the world, wearing crazy customer-designed suits, including bright orange ones at Sheffield Steelers games and representing GB with Union Flag suits.
Jake has been with the Steelkings for a while now, and was joined soon after by John. Both picked the game up quickly, becoming integral parts of the team and both will be in the lineup when we play our first season games.
But two Oakleys in the league obviously wasn’t enough. Els Oakley, John’s daughter and Jake’s sister, recently popped along to the Manchester Phoenix sledge team to give it a try.
I love trying things new and exciting and sledge hockey was definitely one of those. I enquired about it and was greeted with a warm reception which made me feel very welcome – I was worried in case I was unwelcome or even offended anyone as it’s a Paralympic sport. As it was, I was encouraged to try it – so I gave it a go and loved it!
None of the Oakleys had played sledge hockey before, but all three are big ice hockey fans, with them regularly meeting up at Sheffield Steelers games during the season and it was this love of ice hockey that drew them towards sledge hockey.
But despite being family, Els certainly isn’t planning on taking it easy on the Steelkings.
Jake’s very competitive and out to win, so I best give him a run for his money! As for my ol’ pap… love you! But its still hockey – bring it on!
There’s no way that either Jake or John – or the rest of the Steelkings – are going to take that laying down. No matter the names on the back of the shirts, it’s the names on the front that will remain at the forefront of everyone’s minds. As John says:
From the moment she was born I swore to love and protect her – but then sledge hockey came along!
The Steelkings and the Phoenix don’t face each other on the ice until June, but when they do, it’s on consecutive weekends. Phoenix play host tomorrow (Saturday 20th June) at Silverblades Altrincham with face off at 6:30pm, and then they head up here to Yorkshire next Saturday on 27th June for a 9:30pm face off at IceSheffield. As always, all games are completely free entry.
Huge thanks to Peter Best for these fantastic photos from the game on Saturday. I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that the new shirts look amazing!
Click on the thumbnail to see the full image. Please don’t use these photos without permission.
[Post written by #41 Jake Oakley]
Who knew one tweet, sent in the middle of the night while watching the NHL could bring so much to the Steelkings.
However, today GB and Steelkings goalie Bryan Hackworth and myself helped move the club forward by making a morning appearance on BBC Radio Sheffield.
This came off the back of our training session being recorded on Friday by Look North. They liked what we are doing as a club and passed on our details.
Of course we said yes. So after a phone call with Andrew from the station yesterday, where we told him what we were all about, our hopes and aspirations for the future, we were asked to appear on the show live the following morning.
Agreeing to meet Bryan at the station we met up there just after 8.00am where we met a man called Bruce. He informed us that we would be on just after half past eight, so we should sit back and get settled. Not one minute had past before Bruce came rushing back in to tell us we were going straight on. The guest that should have been on before us was stuck in traffic so it was up to us to fill the gap.
A quick drink of water and we went in.
Bob from the ‘Bob at Breakfast show’ (who is sitting in for Toby Foster) greeted us as he leaned over four microphones to shake our hands. Bryan got the swanky microphone that was nicely branded with the Radio Sheffield design, and I sat next to him. I had a green microphone to talk into opposite Bob.
Before we knew it the red ‘live’ light was switched on and we were thrown into action. We were asked about the club, the sport generally, who can play and the Great Britain squad.
We both felt a little nervous at the start but were really getting into it by the end. Before we knew it though it was all over and the red light was switched back off. We said our goodbyes and we asked to keep in touch (which we will be doing).
Bryan and I then parted ways ourselves, but not before we both switched our phones back on to a flurry of text messages about our appearance.
Clearly the message is getting out there, slowly but surely, that we are here and we mean business.
If you want to hear the rambling of two mad men, click on the link below and move the slider to 1h20m.