Lee Valley Lions -v- Toronto Blackhawks
27/11/85 (Win 8-6)
I don’t have much information about this game, other than the players’ names and numbers. Apparently the game was played in a very sportsmanlike manner by both sides, with only a few minor penalties involved (this is according to the match programme of 07/12/05, the game for which was anything but sporting!).
The Blackhawks were made up of players from teams competing in the Ontario Intermediate league and the Lions did well to beat them as they’d previously won against Premier Division side the Nottingham Panthers 6-5.
Here’s what was written on the match programme introduction page (author unknown, but believed to be Mike Grafton AKA Mike Ewer):
“The BIHA’s latest newsletter informs us that our visitors this evening are now known as Toronto Blackhawks and not North Stars as the team were known. Very little information concerning them has reached us, except that their Captain is Gary Steven, a former British Junior International. What League they play in and what standard of hockey they are capable of producing is as yet unknown.
“They are playing only three games during their visit to these shores, the first match is against Nottingham Panthers on Monday 25th November, then at Lee Valley this evening and finishing with a game at Telford against the Tigers on Friday 29th November. Whether the Canadians will then move onto Europe is not known.
“Various touring teams have visited Lee Valley in the past two years and it is always interesting to see how Lions stack up against them. Probably the most entertaining was the Tournament arranged here by the Old Timers’ Hockey Association which took place in March 1984. On view were 16 teams, all of which contained many once famous names. Many of the Canadians performing had been top NHL stars in the past.
“It was a pity that so few people managed to come along and witness the skills displayed by top class exponents of the sport. The reason probably was because hockey had not made sufficient impact in East London at the time. Fortunately hockey has now become an integral part of London’s sport and we have a great number of registered Lions supporters to prove the point.”