Coventry Blaze are a British ice hockey team based in Coventry, England. They are the current Elite Ice Hockey League Champions. Blaze have won the title four times in the last six seasons.
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 3,650 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).
Having finished 3rd in the inaugural EIHL season, Blaze claimed their first Elite League title on 5 March 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 10 April 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.
After a fruitless 2005–06 campaign, Blaze regained the Elite League title and Challenge Cup in the 2006–07 season. The team stumbled at the Semi-Final stage of the Playoffs, bowing out to eventual runners up, the Cardiff Devils.
The 2007–08 season proved similarly successful with Blaze clinching their 3rd Elite League title on 9 March 2008, after beating Belfast Giants 4–2 at the Skydome. Curtis Huppe scored the Championship winning goal against his former side.
On 18 March 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. 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.
The 2008–09 season was one of fluctuating fortunes for Blaze. The team came within a goal of qualifying for the Continental Cup Super Final in November 2008, but were eliminated from both the British Knockout Cup and the Challenge Cup by the Belfast Giants in early 2009.
Sheffield Steelers clinched the Elite League title on Sunday 8 March after beating Newcastle Vipers 4–1. Blaze were defeated by Hull Stingrays the same evening, thus conceding their title. Blaze eventually finished as League runners up.
The season ended on a low note for Blaze, when they were humbled 6–2 by Nottingham Panthers in the Playoff Semi-Final in Nottingham.
Blaze rebuilt for the 2009–10 season, acquiring Peter Hirsch, Brian Lee, Jason Robinson and Greg Owen. Also joining the club were Greg Chambers from Basingstoke Bison, Luke Fulghum from Manchester Phoenix, and Derek Campbell from Newcastle Vipers.
Blaze won their 4th EIHL crown with a thrilling 4–3 overtime win in Edinburgh on 20 March 2010. Trailing 3–2 with less than 30 seconds remaining, captain Adam Calder tied the game with a powerplay strike. Calder then netted in overtime to complete a hattrick and ensure that the Championship returned to the Skydome.
Injury hit Blaze were unable to complete a League and Playoff double, falling 6-3 to Cardiff Devils in the Semi-Finals in Nottingham. Belfast Giants defeated the Devils in the final.
Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey ENL Hockey Sport
Coventry Blaze celebrated their 10th anniversary season in 2009-10 and were given the perfect gift – a third Elite League title in four seasons that made it 10 trophies in 10 seasons since the move to the city in the summer of 2000.
Coach Paul Thompson’s new signings were key as Coventry recovered from being runners-up the previous year to title winners again. Fan favourite Peter Hirsch added stability between the pipes, player of the year Brian Lee led by example on the blue-line, Greg Chambers provided creativity and skill, while hot-shot Luke Fulghum brought goals – and lots of them.
The season started with a Challenge Cup run that fell flat at the group stage, but the Elite League’s newly created 20-20 hockey tournament proved more of a success and Blaze were losing finalists to the Sheffield Steelers. With the cups removed from the priority list, the league became Coventry’s everything for six months, and the race for its title was to become one of the most fascinating for years, going all the way to the final weekend of the season after swinging one way or another.
Coventry Skydome Arena
Tel: 02476 630 693
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