DAVE Ross has fond memories of games against Durham Wasps, but his happiest came in the colours of Billingham Bombers.
The defenceman had two seasons on Teesside from 1992-94.
“The biggest highlight I had against Durham was actually when I was playing for Billingham,” the 47-year-old recalls. “I think it was my first game for Billingham and I was skating with Andre Marlo. He said Billingham had never beaten them for 12 years. So we went out and beat them. That was my biggest highlight.”
Beating the Wasps was always a big deal for Ross, who made 313 appearances for their bitter rivals Whitley Warriors between 1982 and 1995. He clocked up 1,218 penalty minutes in that time.
“I had some great games playing against Durham for Whitley,” he adds. “We disappointed ourselves when we went to Wembley because we didn’t play as well as we could. We had a few penalty shoot-outs in Castle Eden finals against them and a few games where we’d be something like 8-1 up and they’d fight back.”
Tomorrow’s game is the culmination of a charity weekend which started with a meet the players event at Durham’s Radisson Hotel yesterday, and included a golf day today.
The camaraderie of hooking up with old friends and rivals is what has attracted many of the legends to pull on their kit again. “It’s great to be getting back into hockey again, will all the banter,” says Ross. “The last two weeks we’ve been training with the Durham lads and they’ve been mixed teams.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen a lot of the lads for a long time. Robert Wilkinson coached with me at Whitley and I’ve kept in touch with him and his dad, but some of them I haven’t seen for years. But the friendships you make when you’re playing never leave you. I’ve still got best friends I made playing the game when I was 14.”
For more information on tomorrow’s game visit www.legendsicehockey.co.uk
Tickets can be purchased tomorrow from the box office at Whitley Bay Ice Rink.