Streatham RedHawks – The New Era
By Jules Cliff, photos by Rick Webb
As a club established in the 1930’s that has made some dramatic changes over the last year where we altered our name, designed new logos and launched new warm up tops and merchandise, we could all be forgiven for expecting that it might be time to take it easy, and with a full roster just move on to play hockey uninterrupted into 2017.
However, with the RedHawks struggling to find form under head coach, Nick Chinn, club management made the bold decision to make some mid season changes in order to change our fortunes. Meanwhile, down on the Isle of Wight, the Wightlink Raiders were having to face the sad news that with their ice rink closing they would have no option but to fold mid season.
The Raiders played their final game and by the following Thursday a new era dawned at Streatham with Nick Chinn departing the club and Wightlink Raiders head coach, Jeremy Cornish taking over at the helm. Jeremy’s passion and success in the UK game both as a player and coach is renowned in the ice hockey world and management, players and fans alike welcomed the popular Canadian to the High Road with open arms.
The next fortnight saw Cornish build a new, stronger team. With netminder Euan King moving on to rivals London Raiders and David Savage returning to Premier hockey at Guildford just prior to the changes we also said goodbye to a number of players. In their place came 8 new players all from the folded Wightlink. With many of the new guys travelling quite some distance to train and play for our club it’s testament to the reputations of both Streatham IHC and Jeremy Cornish that so many talented players would choose to play in south west London.
With Wightlink being early favourites to take some of the silverware on offer this season our new position means we now have a strength we didn’t have at the beginning of the season. Of course it takes time for players to settle in to a new club and for our continuing players to adapt to the new training regime and the way a new coach operates. However, after fantastic home wins against Bracknell Hornets and arch rivals Invicta Dynamos, players, fans, coaches and management swarmed into the Earl Ferrers after each game with renewed enthusiasm and excitement for the rest of the season.
In the short time that Jeremy has led the team we have performed a new kind of gritty and determined hockey, the new guys slotting in perfectly with the old and Streatham playing host to fans travelling up from the Isle of Wight to watch their favourites settling in at their new team. Training is a particularly positive experience with the new coach really putting the team through its paces and the players adopting new strategies. So we are revitalized and invigorated with a fantastic team of youth and experience and the rest of the season is ours to take.
We have just one home game in December on Sunday 4th December at 6:45pm against Solent Devils and we reconvene at the ice rink on the High Road after the Christmas break on Saturday 14th January at 5:30pm when we take on Oxford City Stars. Two further home games are scheduled for January on Sunday 22nd January against Bracknell Hornets at 6:45pm and on Saturday 28th January at 5;30pm against Milton Keynes Thunder. Make us part of your weekend and show your wonderful local vocal support for your Streatham RedHawks. See you there!