Paisley has been named among the top 42 hockey towns in Europe.

The home of the Paisley Pirates, which is bidding to become UK City of Culture 2021, was ranked 41st in the list of top destinations to watch an action-packed game on the ice.

Paisley Pirates celebrate their Scottish Cup win in 2016 – Picture courtesy of Al Goold

The list was compiled by Canadian online travel agency Flight Network as it examined the growing popularity of ice hockey across Europe.

It ranked each location based on in-depth analysis of its hockey team, league, arena, fans and unique hockey culture.

Paisley was placed alongside a host of iconic hockey locations on the list, including Moscow, Zurich and Helsinki.

The Paisley Pirates were founded in 1946 and play their Scottish National League home games at Braehead Arena with neighbours and Elite Ice Hockey League side the Braehead Clan.

The Pirates were the Scottish Cup winners in 2016 and were crowned Scottish National League champions in the 2012-13 campaign.

The site described the Pirates as “the only hockey team we’ve met that are run entirely by volunteers from the town”.

It added: “They do this because the Pirates are a labour of love run for their community, in the community and by the community”.

The list also took a closer look at the town’s striking architecture and rich heritage to encourage hockey-loving travellers to visit.

Flight Network wrote: “Paisley reminds us of walking onto the set of a period movie, you half expect to see a few hobbits walking around. Although most tourists don’t find an attraction to small countryside towns, they’re never lacking in history, or stories.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, said: “We are delighted to see Paisley recognised as one of the top locations in Europe to watch a hockey match.

“We take pride in all of our local sports clubs and the UK City of Culture bid is part of a wider push to showcase the range of cultural activities and assets Paisley has to offer.

“Being featured on such a list will help put Paisley on the map and will hopefully encourage visitors and hockey fans to visit the town.”

Find out who else joined Paisley on Flight Network’s Top 42 Hockey Towns in Europe list here: http://www.flightnetwork.com/blog/the-top-42-hockey-towns-in-europe/

Paisley Pirates are celebrating a welcome boost after they were included in a prestigious list of the 42 Most Iconic Hockey Towns in Europe, produced by one of Canada’s largest online travel websites, Flight Network, which specialises in providing travel and tourist information for hundreds of thousands of Canadians travelling abroad each year.

paisley pirates

“We were contacted by Flight Network some time ago and asked if we’d like to submit information about the club, and the town of Paisley, for possible inclusion in the information they are transmitting across the country,” said Jackie Turley, club secretary. “As ice hockey is to Canada what football is to Scotland we thought it was an ideal opportunity to illustrate what is good about the town of Paisley and, of course, the Paisley Pirates, but to be honest we probably didn’t give ourselves much of a chance of inclusion, particularly when you see the size and scale of some of the clubs from across Europe who were included. There are some very big hitters in the list produced, and we thought that possibly a small SNL club from Scotland couldn’t really compete against some of Europe’s leading cities and ice hockey teams.”

“We’re very proud to represent Paisley in national competitions each year and we never tire of reminding people where we’re from, and we like to think a few more people know something about the town because of our activities on a national scale. This, however, takes matters onto an international scale for us and when you think that thousands of Canadians come into Glasgow Airport every year, right on the town’s doorstep, you would hope that some of them at least might find their way to the town and pick up on some of the tourist attractions here. We told the Flight Network people a little about the history of the mills in Paisley and its surroundings, and its history in thread making, and it obviously took a trick with the judges, as we made it into the publicity material they’ve now produced for would be visitors, alongside major clubs and cities from all over Europe.”

“To say we’re delighted with our inclusion is an understatement. Edinburgh are the only other British club included and we suspect that most Canadian visitors already know of the city, so being able to do our bit for the town, who have always been very supportive of THEIR ice hockey team, gives us an immense feeling of pride. We’re looking forward to the prospect of welcoming Canadian visitors to our games next season, and hope that with the Pirates maybe encouraging Canadian hockey fans to come to see us if they’re in this neck of the woods, they’ll be seeing what the town of Paisley has to offer them while they’re here.. With Paisley 2021 just over the horizon, the timing could hardly be better, and we like to think that our success will help our town achieve, in turn, the recognition it deserves.”