JOHN Hutley takes very little notice of ice hockey now he has hung up his skates, but he would still love games like tomorrow’s to become a regular fixture.
Organiser and former netminder Frank Killen would like to make the Ken Swinburne Memorial Trophy match an annual event but his former Durham Wasps team-mate would like to play even more often.
“I’ve played recreational stuff since the Wasps but I picked Robert Wilkinson up for the first practice and he hadn’t played since he finished his career with the Warriors (most of his career was spent with the Wasps),” explains Hutley. “He said, ‘I’m dreading this. I’m frightened I’m going to like it!’
“It just gives you another taste of it and you want more. If they ever did get a venue in Durham again you could have a legends team playing regularly, like a Sunday League team.
“It was nice to get the skates back on. It’s been quite good because the banter’s all there. We’re just happy to be playing together and you can’t beat a derby atmosphere. ” But generally Hutley, who played for the Wasps between 1987 and 1996, with a loan spell at Billingham Bombers towards the end, is apathetic about the sport. Like many of his colleagues he is disillusioned by the flood of imports into the British game.
“I don’t take a lot of notice of ice hockey now,” he admits. “The Elite League seems to be getting like the football. The top teams have all the money and the rest can’t keep up.
“I think they need to bring back the Premier League with less imports and more home-grown players.”