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Paisley Pirates have Royal Appointment

Paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates have received a welcome close season boost with the news that they have a Royal Appointment coming up in the very near future.

Coach Ian Turley, mum Jackie, Pirates’ club secretary, and dad Ian Snr, team manager, have all received an invitation to attend the Queen’s Garden Party, which will be held at Holyrood on Wednesday 1 July in the capital.


“Yes,” said the coach, “it’s a huge honour to be asked to an event, and, needless to say, we’re quite chuffed about it, not for ourselves, but for the recognition the invitation gives to the Paisley Pirates for what it contributes to the local area. We’re forever saying that we’re a club run by the community, for the community, and in the community, and we believe this invitation reinforces that belief. We don’t do it for personal glory or anything like that, we do it for a love of the sport in general, and the Pirates in particular, so it’s lovely when a special invitation like this comes along, because it’s a reflection on everyone connected to the club, and a very positive one at that.”

“We haven’t heard of any other ice hockey club getting recognition of this kind, certainly not in this part of the world, so it’s a real boost for us to know that the club, and the work that goes into it by a whole lot of people, has been recognised at a higher level, and we’re already looking forward to the event, even if there’s just a wee touch of trepidation in there too!”

He joked,” We’re not quite ordering up the “By Royal Appointment” signs for the dressing room just yet, and I suppose there will be a fair bit of banter going on with the players and supporters alike, but they will also be so proud that THEIR club is continuing to receive this kind of attention for what it does, and it just makes you want to continue making the name and reputation of the Paisley Pirates one that is respected across the country and, we hope, continues to bring recognition of a positive kind to the local community which we are VERY proud to represent!”

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Paisley Pirates Presentation Night


Paisley Pirates brought down the curtain on their season with their Presentation Night in the 5 on 5 Club, Paisley, at which time various awards were handed out to players and the club’s army of volunteers.

Coach Ian Turley, in his remarks, commented on the season just ended, paying tribute to an ever decreasing group of players for their attitude and commitment over an eventful season, when one more win would have taken the club into first place, rather than finish third on points behind Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh.



The club at one time had 27 players registered, but due to a nightmare season with regard to injuries and other personal commitments, that figure had been reduced to 17 by the time of the end of season playoffs, while at one stage the club had only two fit defenders available.

He noted with some pride that the club had improved considerably on the previous season with more goals scored, less goals conceded, and more points accrued in a league which was of a far higher standard than when he had taken over the coaching role five years earlier. Further, he paid tribute to retiring captain John Churchill after more than 25 years playing at senior level, quoting him as a great ambassador for the sport in general, and the Paisley Pirates in particular.

He revealed that the club had been keen to start up an under 20’s junior squad a year ago, both for its own sake and also to develop younger players locally, but the idea had had to be shelved due to there being insufficient suitable ice time available at Braehead for training and fixtures. In noting that there were now proposals to run a UK wide under 20’s league, and significant interest had been shown by a number of clubs at various levels, he said the club would be watching developments with considerable interest. The club had nevertheless continued to bring through young players who were now mainstays in the team, and he looked forward to continuing to do so in the seasons to come.

The club’s army of volunteers played a crucial role in allowing the Paisley Pirates to operate at a high standard, as without them many key functions on match nights and normal day to day tasks could not otherwise be fulfilled. He spoke of people with a great passion for their local ice hockey team, and who willingly gave up their own time, for no financial reward, just to be part of the organisation.

Finally, awards for volunteers and players were announced, with each member of the volunteers staff, and each member of the team, were given mementoes to mark their participation in a successful season for the club. The main awards were announced as follows:

Volunteer of the Year Al Goold
Most Improved Player Liam Riddell
Award for Attitude & Effort Tom Johnston
Difference Maker Scott Cowan
Players’ Player Martyn Guy
MVP Graham McCamley

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Paisley Pirates Presentation Night

Paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates finish off their season this weekend when they stage their end of season Presentation Night, which will be held in the 5 on 5 Club in Paisley on Saturday night at 7.00pm.


“Yes, the season has had its ups and downs, like any other,” said coach Ian Turley as he looked back on a campaign which saw the Paisley club finish joint second in the Scottish National League, level on points with Edinburgh Capitals and just behind winners Kirkcaldy Kestrels, and go out of the Scottish Cup in controversial circumstances. They also made the semifinals of the Autumn Cup, and qualified for the end of season playoffs.


“We would, of course, liked to have won some silverware, given that we made the latter stages of two cup competitions and finished joint second in the league”, he commented, but it wasn’t to be for a number of reasons. I can’t recall a season where we lost so many players to injury and personal circumstances, I think at one stage we were missing FIVE defenders out of seven who were out injured, so it says so much about those left that we still finished the season in more than respectable fashion, and that we went four and a half months unbeaten.”


“This weekend’s Presentation Night gives us the chance to recognise all of the hard work that goes on over the course of a season and beyond, as not only do we announce the winners of the various awards, we also pay tribute to an army of volunteers without whom we simply couldn’t function. We always present each helper with a memento as a thank you for their help, and there’s also a special Volunteer Award. It’s something we’ve been doing for a number of years now, and it seems to be catching on at other clubs since we started doing it. In addition, There’s the various players’ awards, these being for Most Improved Player, the award for Effort and Attitude, the Difference Maker, the Players’ Player of the Year, and the Most Valuable Player, so it will be a busy night. This year too, we also get the chance to bid farewell to skipper John Churchill who has retired after over 25 years of playing in the sport as a senior.”


“We know the event will be well attended, as it always is, and it gets under way at 7.00pm, going on till late, and for only £7, which will include a buffet and a Disco once we’ve got all the presentations done, it’s going to be another good night. Anyone wishing more information can contact the Pirates’ website at paisleypirates@gmail.com, but hurry, because you don’t have much time left!”

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Paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates’ supporters are furious after it was announced that there would be no 3rd/4th place playoff at this weekend’s SNL Playoff finals, weeks after they had booked accommodation for what was described as the showpiece event of the season for SNL fans.


“It comes as a huge disappointment to learn that without discussion the traditional format has been ditched by the people in charge, without so much as a by your leave to the many fans who support this event,” said long time fan Bil Elliot. “Many followers, particularly Pirates’ fans who had the furthest to travel (approximately 180 miles round trip), decided to book into accommodation to remove the need to travel through to Kirkcaldy on the Saturday, watch the game, and then have to travel home on the Saturday night to return on Sunday morning (if Pirates were involved in the 3rd/4th place game), or for the final on Sunday night.”


“The other teams taking part (Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh and Dundee) are all within easy reach of the rink but a double journey like that was hardly the best preparation for what’s supposed to be the showpiece of the year for the SNL teams, and is hardly that, with the prospect of a blank morning and afternoon in Kirkcaldy, which with all possible respect is maybe not quite buzzing at that time.”


“A lot of Pirates’ fans, and indeed players and club officials, have shelled out a lot of money for accommodation for what was supposed to be a weekend of hockey, rather than an afternoon and two nights. You sometimes have to wonder if the people in charge of the sport at this level actually realise that there are supporters going to these events and who are due some consideration in recognition of that fact, never mind the teams who are actually preparing for one of the biggest events in the SNL calendar.”

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Paisley pirates

Pirates duly qualified for the SNL Playoff Finals in Kirkcaldy following a goal fest at the Braehead Arena, which saw them despatch an Aberdeen side which, although never giving up, couldn’t quite match the firepower of the home side.


The Paisley side opened brightly and were ahead inside four minutes as Scott Cowan took a pass from Riddell to fire home in style and put his side in front, giving them a lead which they never looked like losing. With Malcolm sitting in the penalty box for Hooking, Pirates doubled their lead on the powerplay at the 12 minute mark, Cowan notching his second from assists by Orr and Campbell, and although chances came at both ends, the scoreboard remained unchanged at the first interval, with Pirates looking comfortable with a 3 goal aggregate lead, and having a “goal” washed out after 14 minutes for High Sticks..


Pirates were again first on the board in the middle session, as McCamley got on the act in the 25th minute, but the score was immediately nullified as Leyden raced to the other end to score the visitors’ opener only 8 seconds later, and much to the delight of the travelling Lynx support. A two goals in two minutes’ burst from Pirates took the game away from Aberdeen as first Blair, then Riddell, took the score to 5-1, and with Orr emphasising the home side’s superiority with a 6th in 36 minutes, it was all over, although Leyden again retaliated with a second unassisted goal half a minute later, followed by McIntosh in the last seconds of the period to give the scoreline a slightly better hue for the visitors at 6-3 at the second interval.


Play was scrappy in the early part of the third period but at the halfway point, and for a few brief seconds, Lynx looked to get back in the game as Malcolm netted to bring the score to 6-4., but that’s where it ended as first Orr, then Hassan, scored within 40 seconds of each other to take the game away and give their side a 5 goal aggregate with little time left. Cowan duly completed his hat trick with less than 20 seconds remaining, and a 5th goal for the visitors, courtesy Turnbull, merely provided some window dressing for an Aberdeen side which never gave up, but which could not compete with a home side which retained its goal scoring touch of recent weeks.


Pirates now go through to the SNL Playoff Finals weekend on 11/12 April in Kirkcaldy, with Edinburgh Capitals, Dundee Comets, and the hosts, Kirkcaldy Kestrels, for company.

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John Churchill hanging up his skates


Paisley Pirates’ fans attending Sunday’s playoff quarter final against Aberdeen Lynx at Braehead Arena will say goodbye to one of their favourite sons, following the news that captain John Churchill is hanging up his skates at the end of the season.

The popular hitman, a stalwart with the club for a number of seasons in a career spanning four decades, will play his last home game for the club as they battle for a place in the end of season playoff weekend in Kirkcaldy.



“Yes, we were all a little sad when John told us this was definitely his final season in competitive ice hockey,” said coach Ian Turley. “He’s been playing with us for a long time now, so long in fact that he became regarded as an automatic selection. Sure, he’s got older, like the rest of us, but his level of fitness has never been in question, in fact, he can still put a lot of guys to shame when it comes to lasting 60 minutes”

“John’s certainly earned his place in the club’s history, as not only did he score the first goal and set us on his way when we won the Scottish Cup 10 years ago, but he also led the club to their first championship title in 20 years just two seasons ago. His attitude has always been first class, he’s a real leader in the dressing room, and folk look up to him.

“He’s going to be a real loss to the club, as not only does has he brought his playing ability to the team, all his other attributes such as his experience have contributed greatly to the success of the club. He might have been playing the game longer than some of our guys have actually been around, but he’s never, ever, lost his enthusiasm for the sport, or playing for the Pirates, and that kind of love of the game is going to be difficult to replace.”

“Sunday’s game is an important one in its own right, but it takes on extra significance because it’ll be John’s last match for the club on home ice. We’ll certainly be doing our utmost to make sure he has two more games for us after that in the playoffs, although Aberdeen Lynx will have something to say about that, and I’m hoping that fans turn out in force, and we do the business on the ice, to give him a send off appropriate to the tremendous service he’s given to the sport he loves, and to the Paisley Pirates in particular.”

Parliamentary Motion by George Adam MSP

I submitted this motion to the Scottish Parliament on Friday.

Motion S4M-12843: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/03/2015
Last Face-off for Paisley Pirates’ Captain, John Churchill
That the Parliament celebrates the career of John Churchill, captain of the Paisley Pirates ice hockey team, who has announced that he will hang up his skates at the end of the season; notes that homes fans will watch Churchill take to home ice for the final time in the playoff quarter final against Aberdeen Lynx on 29 March 2015; congratulates John on his career, spanning four decades, scoring the first goal in the Paisley Pirates’ Scottish Cup win 10 years ago and captaining the side to its first Scottish title in 2013 when the team finished the season as Scottish National League champions; notes that, after John’s retirement, Scottish ice hockey will be without a number 14 by the name of Churchill for the first time in 50 years due to both John and his dad Alex both wearing the number 14 shirt throughout their careers with Alex playing for, among other teams, Paisley Mohawks during his time on the ice; thanks John for his service to Scottish ice hockey and to the Paisley Pirates during the latter part his career, previously playing for Glasgow Saints, Nottingham Panthers, Telford Tigers and the Dumfries Vikings; wishes John well in his future endeavours, and considers that he will go down as one of the Paisley Pirates greatest players.

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paisley pirates

In a night of pulsating, end to end ice hockey, Pirates claimed a draw against title challengers Edinburgh, and in doing so became the first visiting side to take a point away from the Murrayfield rink this season.

Both teams set out to attack from the start, and the visitors were first to get on the scoreboard in the 10th minute as Scott Cowan fired home unassisted. It got even better for Pirates after 18 minutes, as this time defender Chris Turley was up with the forwards to slip home a pass from Johnston to send his side in at the break with a 2-0 advantage.

paisley pirates

(Picture courtesy of Al Goold Photo )

The expected Edinburgh fightback was delayed, however, as with less than two minutes on the clock in the middle session a Martyn Guy shot defeated Mallinson in the home goal to put the visitors three ahead. This did spark off a fightback by the home side and within two minutes it was 3-2 as first Patterson, and then Hughes, put the home side right back in the game. The goals continued to flow and at the halfway point Liam Riddell rounded off a play with McCamley and Guy to put Pirates two ahead at 4-2. The title chasing Caps retaliated in fine style, however, and a three minute treble by the Hay brothers gave them a narrow 5-4 advantage at the second break.

It got darker for Pirates within seconds of the restart as Gautschi netted to give his side a two goal advantage, but the Paisley side weren’t finished yet, as with six minutes gone David Orr scored an unassisted marker to make it a one goal game. Edinburgh came back again, but after Langford had pulled off a great save to keep the deficit at one goal, the visitors immediately broke to the other end, and Cowan converted a Campbell pass to tie the scores two minutes later. The frenetic level of activity at both ends continued right to the end, however, with neither team able to get the game winning goal, in a match which was a tremendous advert for SNL hockey.

Third placed Pirates will now face Aberdeen Lynx in the Playoff quarter finals on a home and away basis, the first leg taking place on Saturday 21 March in the North East, with the return leg at the Braehead Arena on Sunday 29 March, in what will be an interesting tie, the Lynx being one of only two teams to have beaten Pirates in league action this season.

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pirates goal

Shorthanded Pirates pulled off a stunning 5-3 win against North Ayrshire Wild, the visitors’ bench being ravaged by injury to the extent that they could only ice 13 skaters, including several walking wounded, for this local derby.

The visitors were on the board in the 6th minute as Orr top shelved a shot beyond Galloway to put Pirates one up, but after they has played off a penalty called on Cowan for Hooking, the scores were tied after 12 minutes as Bain equalised in a first period where Pirates possibly had the better of the exchanges against a side desperate for the two points to clinch a place in the playoffs.



pirates goal

(Picture courtesy of Al Goold Photo see the rest of the sequence here https://www.facebook.com/paisley.pirates)

Wild had the better of the early exchanges in the middle session, although Riddell missed a good opportunity for the Renfrewshire side after 25 minutes, and with the teams swopping penalties around the halfway point Pirates had Langford to thank for an outstanding save a minute later, before they took the lead after 36 minutes as McCamley smashed a low shot home to give his side the advantage again. Almost immediately, they were a player short, with Riddell going for Hooking, but within seconds Blair had broken away and deftly rounded Galloway to put his team two clear. The home side were still on the powerplay, however, and pulled one back in highly controversial circumstances as Langford appeared to have pulled off a tremendous save form Abercromby, but the goal judge flashed his light and a goal was awarded after considerable debate, with the goalie clearly gesticulating to the official that the puck had not crossed the line. Pirates were still recovering from that blow and 20 seconds later it was 3-3 as Maitland tied the scores. The visitors dredged on their reserves in what had been a tiring end to the session and Orr blasted home with only 6 seconds remaining to send his team in with a narrow 4-3 advantage.


Player/coach Ian Turley, who had reported ill for this match, but had played as an emergency defender because of player shortages, was unable to continue, leaving Pirates with only 3 recognised defenders for the final session, and they had to withstand some pressure from the hosts who remained desperate to keep their season going with a win. Gibson missed a great chance to equalise when going one on one with Langford only to miss the target, before Graham McCamley gave the visitors vital breathing space with a fifth goal in the 52nd minute. Pirates appeared to be under the cosh in the 53rd minute as Cowan, and then Chris Turley, were penalised within 4 seconds of each other, giving Wild a two man advantage for almost 2 frenetic minutes, but by a combination of last ditch defending, inspired netminding by Langford, and a fair slice of luck, their goal remained intact, and a very tired looking Pirates played out the remaining minutes to record a quire remarkable win.

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Paisley Pirates Player plays on with Dislocated Shoulder

Pirates 14-15 headshots__36

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Ice hockey players have the reputation of being tough guys, and Paisley Pirates’ defender Chris Turley certainly lived up to that image last weekend.

In the course of his team’s match against Moray Typhoons in the Scottish National League on Sunday, Chris took a challenge from an opponent, and immediately knew what had happened. “I’ve been playing ice hockey for a long time now, ever since I was a kid, picking up a few injuries along the way, and had dislocated my shoulder before. I realised it had come out again, and needed to get it sorted right away.”

Pirates 14-15 headshots__36


(Picture courtesy of Al Goold Photo)

His brother, and team coach, Ian Turley, told him he’d need to sit out the rest of the game because of the injury but tough guy Chris decided that dislocation or no dislocation, he was seeing out the rest of the game.

Drawing on the example set by Mel Gibson in the “Lethal Weapon” series of films, he set about remedying the situation by knocking his shoulder back into place without the aid of an anaesthetic and, problem sorted, went back out to help his team to an 11-1 win.

“He’s my brother, so I know better than anyone how daft he can be,” commented coach Ian Turley“, but it just goes to show how much our guys will go through to play for the Pirates, and he does it for the love of the game.

He’s been our rock a number of times with last minute challenges and important goals, although I think he took the comparison a bit far this time! I don’t know how many players could do what he did, but he’s a very important player for us, and Sunday just showed the level of commitment which he, and indeed the rest of the squad, give to this club every time they go out to represent the Paisley Pirates. It’s that kind of attitude which shows just how special this club is, and what it means to team members to play for it.”

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Paisley pirates

Pirates cantered to an easy win by crushing Moray Typhoons 11-1 in their final home match of the regular season, notching their seventh consecutive league win in the process.

The home side were on the board in only 46 seconds as Blair top shelved a shot past MacColla in the visitors’ goal, and the goalie was picking the puck out the net again less than a minute later as Riddell finished off a move with Cowan and Guy to double the advantage with under two minutes on the clock. On the five minute mark it was three as Stuart Miller was on hand to net the first of a treble, and perhaps the only real surprise of the period was that there were only nine seconds left in the period before McCamley added to the tally with a shorthanded effort, his team heading for the dressing room already four goals to the good.


The middle session saw Pirates again beat a regular path towards the Moray goal, with Miller notching his second, and the hosts’ fifth, in the 28th minute on the powerplay, before Campbell scored a beauty six minutes later, taking a through pass from Churchill to round MacColla and tap into the empty net for number six. That ended the scoring for the period, with the home side disappearing into the distance at 6-0.

Typhoons briefly saw a shaft of light in the 43rd minute as Durkacz skated through the Pirates defence before drawing Langford to net his side’s only goal of the night, but normal service was resumed at the halfway point as Miller completed his hat trick by tipping in a Chris Turley thunderbolt to make it seven. Again Pirates appeared to take their foot off the gas briefly, but they finished with a flourish, netting no fewer than four times as Riddell, Churchill, Campbell and Cowan all found the target to complete their biggest win of the season.

Pirates finish their regular season with an away tie at North Ayr this coming Saturday, before travelling to Edinburgh for their final league match of the season on 8 March, before entering the playoff stage of the season, and will be hoping that several key players missing in the win against Moray will be available by that time.