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PAISLEY PIRATES-UPDATE

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Paisley Pirates recently held their end of season Player of the Year Presentation Night, at which time volunteers and players alike received their awards for their efforts over the course of the club’s most successful season to date.

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In a year which had seen the club become Scottish National League champions for only the second time, and where they had been voted Team of the Year in a local poll, and a season which had seen club secretary Jackie Turley awarded the Lord Provost’s Trophy for Sporting Achievement, coach Ian Turley paid tribute to everyone who had contributed to a huge effort on and off the ice, from the players whose on-ice efforts had led to them clinching the league title in February with a 6-0 win in Dundee, to the army of volunteers and supporters who had helped make the Pirates one of the strongest clubs in Scottish ice hockey.

After each of the players had received a memento to mark their season with the club, and volunteers had similarly received a small souvenir to acknowledge their help, the following awards were announced:

Volunteer of the Year – Robert Smith (no image)

Most Improved Player of the Year – Euan McGlaughlan 

 Award for Effort and Aptitude – Martyn Guy 

 Difference Maker – Graeme Meechan 

 Players’ Player of the Year – Chris Turley/Chris Wilson 

 Supporters Club Player of the Year – Martyn Guy (receiving the Jim Liddell Trophy)

Most Valuable Player – David Orr 

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PIRATES SAY THANKS

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Following the end of their most successful campaign to date, Paisley Pirates have paid tribute to the many individuals and groups who have contributed to that success by thanking them for the part they have played in making season 2016/17 so memorable.

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Coach Ian Turley said, “There are an awful lot of people we need to say a very big ‘Thank You’ to, as without them we simply couldn’t ice a team. We have a squad of 20 players, and I can only say how much it has been a privilege and pleasure to work with them. The bit that people see is the players performing on the ice, the bit they don’t see is the late night training sessions and full commitment away from their families for 8 months of the year. They don’t get paid for playing, nor do they get any help with their kit or travelling costs to and from games either at home or away, and all of that takes a lot of commitment and I’ve got only the highest regard for the guys who were prepared to do that week in, week out, for the club.”

He went on, “All of the SNL teams have made various efforts to raise the standard of our league, which is clear for everyone to see, given that there was very little room for error during games throughout the season.”

“We have a mass of volunteers, who do all the match night jobs willingly to contribute to the club, and once again, without them, we couldn’t put a show on-from the people on the gate, the folk who do all the presentation stuff round the other side of the arena, and all the others who don’t really see as much of the game as they would maybe like but do their job willingly to help the Pirates, all of them have my utmost admiration for doing it to help their club, and I want them to know just how much it is appreciated.”

“Our supporters also deserve a huge thanks for getting behind the team in the way that they do. There’s no better feeling than coming out of the dressing room at Braehead Arena and hearing the fans cheering when we hit the ice, and away from home the noise they create makes us feel so much better, knowing that so many folk have given up their time and probably spent quite a bit of money to get to the game, and that is hugely appreciated. I know of one instance this year when we were playing at Dundee on a Sunday night and some fans travelled through; by public transport just to watch us play, which is quite humbling to think that a family would do that, effectively give up most of their Sunday, and probably a wee bit of their Monday morning too, just to cheer us on 100 miles from home-that’s dedication, and it’s not at all untypical with regard to what our fans will do to support the team.”

“I also have to thank the sponsors who gave us much needed support over the course of the season in various ways. Renfrewshire Sports Charity at ProLife Fitness Centre who provided the team with a top class training facility, none more when we lost ice at Braehead. Cold Blooded Sports who in spite of their own trauma when their premises went on fire, were still able to supply us with goods and services. I also want to thank our other sponsors, like Al Goold Photos, MWS and SK Cutting Edge, all of whom provided us with much valued support in various ways, and, of course, Renfrewshire Council, who have provided ongoing support through its Local Area Committees.”

“Finally, I want to say a word about our management team. We’re a very well run organisation. Jackie and her team put in a power of work behind the scenes and put in more hours in the week on behalf of the Pirates than they do in a full time job! Running the Pirates is a 24/7 commitment, you don’t get days off very often, and it is so much easier being the coach at this club when you know that all the million and one other jobs connected with the running of the organisation are all being dealt with. You could say that we are a big club in every sense of the word, with an organisation and history that many other teams would love to have, and that’s down to Jackie and her team making it that way.”

“We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 13th May at our end of season awards night.”

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PAISLEY PIRATES 5 DUNDEE COMETS 9

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Pirates finished their season on a disappointing note as they relinquished the Scottish Cup to Dundee Comets, a hat trick from David Orr not being enough to prevent the league champions from going down to the Tayside outfit.

The Paisley side were hit by an opening blitz which saw the Comets hit two goals in twenty seconds in the fourth minute through Inglis and Hamilton and Gold, and while Orr’s goal did pull the score back to 2-1 after six minutes, Comets had their two goal cushion back in just over 60 seconds as Gold beat Meechan for a third time with under eight minutes on the clock, at which juncture Hepburn took over in the Paisley goal. However, he, too, was beaten in the 14th minute by a shot from Smith and the Comets went into the first break holding an already comfortable lead at 4-1.

Pirates needed an early goal in the second period to claw themselves back into the game, but it came at the wrong end as Dolan netted within a minute to give the Comets a four goal cushion with almost two full periods remaining. The champions did produce some fighting spirit and pulled back two goals from Orr, the third thus completing his hat trick, by the 37th minute to give a hint of daylight at 5-3, but Gordon shut the door again a minute later to take the score to 6-3 at the second break.

With Paisley looking down the barrel of a shotgun they pulled themselves back within two goals again after 45 minutes when Campbell beat Michie for 6-4, but once more the Comets slammed the door shut with a further two goals from Dolan and Whitelaw to end any lingering hopes of a last gasp fightback, and while Miller netted for 8-5 with just under two minutes to go, Comets had the final word with Gold scoring within thirty seconds to finish the scoring, sending Pirates home empty handed for the second time in a fortnight.

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PAISLEY PIRATES 2 KIRKCALDY KESTRELS 2

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PAISLEY PIRATES-PREVIEW

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It’s a massive weekend for the Paisley Pirates as they go to Kirkcaldy for the annual end of season SNL Playoffs this Saturday, and they face possibly the hardest possible task when they go head to head against the hosts, Kirkcaldy Kestrels, who qualified for their place after beating Edinburgh Capitals 10-8 on aggregate last weekend. The second semi final sees Aberdeen Lynx take on Dundee Comets, with the winners of the two ties meeting on Sunday to decide the destiny of this year’s playoff title.

paisley pirates

Coach Ian Turley commented, “It may have come as a little bit of a surprise to some that the Kestrels made it through their quarter final, because after tying 5-5 with the Caps in the first leg in Fife two weeks ago, most folk would have fancied the Caps to finish the job in their own rink, but that gives us all the warning we need that the Kestrels are bang on form, if they can go to Edinburgh and win 5-3. They’ll be playing in their own rink in front of their own fans, and they’ll really fancy their chances-in their position, so would I!”

“We’ve had two tremendous games against them this year, and we managed to come through both with the points. What people have to remember is that we played exceptionally well in both games, in fact in our home game we had a team of walking wounded battling for us, and what that tells us is that we’ll have to be at our absolute best if we want to get to the final. Add that to the fact that we’re going there as league champions, and they’ve got all the incentive they need to want to turn us over. For our part, we’ve been training as usual the last couple of weeks working on a few things, everybody’s raring to go, and we’ll be heading onto the ice determined to prove that we have what it takes to see us progress.”

He went on, “We know, too, that we’ll have an army of supporters heading through to Fife to cheer us on, and we’re determined to finish the season with a bang rather than a whimper. I know we’re back there in a fortnight’s time for the Scottish Cup Final, but that’ll take care of itself when they time comes, all we’re focused on just now is the Kirkcaldy tie-we lost on penalties at this stage last year, and it’s a gut wrenching experience that we certainly don’t aim on repeating!”

 

Face off is at 4.45pm.

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Paisley Pirate’s match reports

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PAISLEY PIRATES-PREVIEW

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Paisley Pirates return to action after a few weeks off, and it’s another very important weekend for them as they take on North Ayrshire Wild over two legs, to determine who will qualify for a place in the playoff finals weekend on 8 and 9 April, when the four qualifiers will battle it out for the right to be names playoff champions. Pirates face the Wild at Auchenharvie Ice Rink on Saturday night before returning to Braehead Arena for the second leg less than 24 hours later.

paisley pirates

“I said a few weeks ago that every game was a cup final now, and this weekend proves my point. North Ayr have had a difficult season this year, but will see this as the perfect opportunity to round it off in style by beating the new league champions,” said coach Ian Turley. “For us, we’ll be sticking to our well established routine of taking one game at a time. Braehead Arena hasn’t been available to us for a couple of weeks, so it would have been very easy just to rest up and not train, instead of which we secured booked ice elsewhere to ensure that our normal routine remained in place. That’s what we’ve been doing all season, and we aren’t changing it now. Attitude of mind is just as important as fitness when I’m looking at a squad of players, and it matters that they have the right one when they go out on the ice. We’ve never won the playoff weekend; we’ve had a few disappointments over the years in the final stages, sure it would be great to tick that box but we are not even there yet! The second game at Braehead Arena on the Sunday is also our last one on home ice this season, so I’m hoping both that the team puts on a show for the fans, and that the latter turn out in droves as a “Thank you” for winning the league, it would be a nice way to round off matters in front of them.”

“I’m happy that we’ve got the players to do the job of reaching the finals weekend, but it’s who is best over the two legs simple as that. I’m sure that the Wild will be determined to spoil the party for us. A couple of our squad played for them last year, so there will be added spice to the two legs, with not just a finals place at stake, but nearly as important, bragging rights locally. We’ve got big occasion players in our ranks, and every game from here on in is a big one, so I’m looking to everyone on our bench to go out and show me that they deserve the faith that’s been placed in them, not just by me, but by our loyal fans who have been with us every step of the way this season, and who are looking forward to what could be a very busy end to the season.”

Sunday’s match at Braehead faces off at 6.00pm. Pirates now know their Scottish Cup Final opponents, Dundee Comets having beaten local rivals Dundee Tigers 12-4 on aggregate in their semi final over the weekend, and will now face the cup holders in the final on 22 April in Kirkcaldy.

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PAISLEY PIRATES-UPDATE

Paisley Pirates coach Ian Turley looked back on another memorable weekend for the club which not only saw them qualify for the Scottish Cup Final after a 26-3 aggregate win over a weakened Kilmarnock Storm, but incorporated a number of other events which he was very happy about.

86 year old fan Tommy Laverty shaking hands with Man of the Match last Sunday, Chris Wilson

“We went out and did the job we had to do on Sunday night. Killie appeared to be a few players short of the squad that played against us the week before, but my job, and that of the team, was to go out and make sure there were no surprises in the outcome, which was a place in the Scottish Cup Final, and there wasn’t. I appreciate that it wasn’t much of a spectacle for the big crowd we had in, but we demand that the team goes out and does the best it can every game, and that’s what it did, that’s what we’ve tried to do every game this season, and that’s why we’re champions!”

league winning Paisley Pirates with Tommy

He went on, “There were so many other things going on over the weekend that, for me, just illustrates why this club is special, and isn’t just an ice hockey team. On Friday night, at the Lord Provost’s Annual Community Awards event, club secretary Jackie Turley won the Sporting Achievement category, which doesn’t just recognise what we’ve done on the ice the past year, but shows that the Paisley Pirates ARE recognised as being an important element in all the parts that go into a local community. That is, and always will be, very important to us.”

“On the Sunday, we were crowned as national champions and were presented with the trophy, and winners’ medals, by the Depute Lord Provost, Councillor John Caldwell, and again, that’s hugely significant to us, that we continue to receive recognition for our achievements from the local council, who have always been very supportive of us in various ways. You could feel our supporters literally bursting with pride as the team came up one by one to receive their gongs, and moments like that are so precious, not just for the players, but for the supporters who are watching THEIR team being honoured.”

“Also on the Sunday night, we had a very special moment during the Man of the Match presentations, as it was carried out by Tommy Laverty, an 86 years young Pirates fan who has supported the club from the very start, indeed, he was there at East Lane when it all started for us back in 1946. We felt that given the special circumstances of Sunday night, it was very important to us to reinforce the special relationship between the Pirates and the town of Paisley, which goes all the way back to just after the end of World War Two, and, especially in our 70th year, what could possibly have been more fitting than to have someone who was there at the very start to help us celebrate?”

“Finally, and this wasn’t planned, we had an incident during the second period when one of the Kilmarnock team was hit in the head by a shot, and after several minutes’ treatment on the ice, was stretchered off and was taken to hospital. Our First Aid team were on the ice within seconds, Arena staff were on hand also, and he received appropriate care and attention until the ambulance arrived, at which time he was quickly transported to hospital. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t as bad as it looked at first, but we’ve received fulsome praise from both his parents, and others who saw the incident since, praising us for the very professional way we dealt with the incident, how well they perceive the club is run, and praising our fans for the respectful way they responded to what appeared a very serious situation.”

“The main thing is that the players is pretty much ok, but all of the above just demonstrates how much respect and recognition this club carries both locally and further afield, and that will always be important to us, namely, that we have the respect and recognition of our peers to be the very best we can be at all times and in everything we do both on and off the ice.. That, for me, separates this club from the pack, and as long as I have anything to do with it, that’s the way it will continue to be!”

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PAISLEY PIRATES 15 KILMARNOCK STORM 1

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Pirates duly progressed to the Scottish Cup Final after a mammoth 15-1 rout of the Storm, recording an aggregate 26-3 aggregate win.

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They were quickly into their stride and were ahead after five minutes as skipper Mark Hassan slotted home on the powerplay, and within two minutes the lead was doubled as Tom Johnston got on the scoresheet with a shot which beat netminder Gray in the visiting goal. By the halfway point it was 3-0 as Chris Wilson scored his first of the night, again on the powerplay, and while former Pirate Allan Maitland pulled one back for the visitors in the 13th minute, the flow of play towards the Storm continued and after another former Pirate, Myles Watson, had been thrown out for Butt Ending, Wilson scored his second, and his team’s fourth, with yet another powerplay goal to send his team in with a very comfortable 4-1 advantage, and with the writing very much on the wall for the visitors.

In the middle session, Pirates went into overdrive and with less than five minutes played in it Chris Turley scored the goal of the game, waltzing through the entire Storm side to score a beauty and take the lead to four on the night, and thirteen in the tie. Marc Crute was in on the act four minutes later to take the score to 6-1. Chris Wilson duly collected his hat trick goal just after the halfway point in the game, with Stuart Miller taking it to eight after 32 minutes. A nasty looking injury to Storm’s Mort saw the game halted after 35 minutes as the visitor appeared to take a direct hit to the head from the puck, and after extended treatment on the ice he was stretchered off and taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. The extended break in play did not, however, affect Pirates’ dominance as they beat Blackwell, who had replaced Gray in the visiting goal by this time, three times in the remaining minutes through a Chris Wilson double, taking his personal tally to five, and a rare Warren Crawford effort, making the score 11-1 after 40 minutes.

Pirates appeared to drop a gear in the third session and with a number of players benefiting from extended ice time, it wasn’t until the 48th minute that Crawford netted his second, but they finished with a flourish with three final goals in the last ten minutes, Bain making it unlucky 13 for Kilmarnock, Crute getting his second a few minutes later, and Campbell rounded off the evening with the final goal in the last two minutes.

The league champions will now have a break of a few weeks until the dates of their playoff games with as yet unnamed opponents are confirmed, and on this form will be looking to the prospect of appearances in the Scottish Cup Final on 22 April against the winners of the Dundee derby, with Tigers and Comets clashing in the other semi final, and the prospect of a possible appearance in the playoff finals weekend to look forward to as top seeds in the preliminary stages.

Following their win, Pirates were presented with the SNL Champions trophy and their individual medals by Deputy Lord Provost of Renfrewshire Council, John Caldwell.

Scorers: Wilson (5+0), Crute (2+1), Crawford (2+0), Hassan, Miller & Johnston (all 1+2), Campbell & Turley (both 1+1), Bain (1+0), Orr (0+4), Blair, Riddell & Jordan (both 0+2), McLaughlin, Thorp & Spiers (all 0+1)

Man of the Match: Chris Wilson

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PAISLEY PIRATES-PREVIEW

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Paisley Pirates coach Ian Turley is looking forward to the second leg of his team’s Scottish Cup semi-final this Sunday for a whole host of reasons, after seeing his side beat Kilmarnock Storm in the first leg last Saturday, but he certainly isn’t taking anything for granted, and he’s warning everyone at the club not to assume the club is already in the final.

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“I accept that there will be those who believe the job is already done and that we’re in the final towards the end of April, but I’m not one of them!” he said with conviction. “We’ve got to where we’ve reached this year by the same approach, namely, take one game at a time, treat your opponents with the utmost respect, and take nothing for granted, so I’ll certainly not be changing the mantra now, and I’ll quickly remind anybody who thinks otherwise.

He continued, “Storm have a lot of guys who played for us at Braehead in previous seasons, so they will welcome coming back to the wide open spaces here. I actually think they have players who will enjoy the extra space they will find at our home ice, so they will certainly need to be watched very carefully. I know this might be seen as an over cautious approach by some, but we need to be certain that we continue to employ the same practices as we’ve done so far, we’re playing for a cup final place, and when we play the way we can and show the right attitude I never have any doubts about our ability to win games, and that will be the way we go about Sunday’s game. It’s all about maintaining good habits and setting out to win every single game we play. It’s irrelevant what competition we play in, our only objective is to win and take one game at a time, if we continue to do that then everything else takes care of itself.

“It’s a great chance for our supporters to welcome back the guys who, in my opinion, deserve all the praise that’s been heaped on them after winning the Scottish National League, and are now playing for a place in the Scottish Cup Final. Not many supporters can say they have the opportunity to see that all on one night, but on Sunday our fans do, and I really hope they turn out in force to cheer the guys onto the ice just before 6.00pm on Sunday night and then keep the noise level up at full for the rest of the game. It’s been a month since we last played at home when we beat then title challenges Aberdeen Lynx to reach the semis, so I’m looking for them to contribute to the whole team ethic approach, which they’re very much part of, and help see us through to the final. We’re in a position which every other team wishes was theirs, so let’s go for one penultimate push on Sunday and help get us there!”