You could say that Daryl Lipsey came to the UK by accident!
Originally from North Battleford, a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada, he was due to fly out to Stuttgart in Germany, the move fell through and he was offered a slot on a team in the UK, his first words when offered the UK move was “do they play hockey over there”.
It was 1985, as a 20 year old, he signed for the Bournemouth Stags as a goal scoring forward – one of the team’s three allowed imports.
On arrival, his first shock was what he thought was a practice rink, with fish netting rather than Plexi glass, was really the Bournemouth Arena, the team’s actual home ice!
The second shock came when he discovered hand rails on the inside of the barriers facing the ice!
Two years later it was time for a new challenge and Daryl moved to Swindon and the newly built Linx Centre where he signed for the new Swindon Wildcats hockey team.
Fast forward 9 years and Daryl had become a part of community life in Swindon, playing and coaching for the Wildcats organisation and married to a local girl, he’d fully settled into life in the Wiltshire town when, by a twist of fate, his career took a sharp upward turn.
While attending a charity golf tournament in Cardiff in the summer of 1995 Daryl met up with the Cardiff Devils Supremo, John
Lawless, who was heading up to Manchester to become the General Manager of the new Manchester Storm hockey team, John was looking for a player/assistant coach and Daryl was offered the job.
The team were obliged to start off in the lower British League Division One, competing against teams such as the Blackburn Hawks, Dumfries Vikings and Telford Tigers before earning promotion to the top flight with 99 points from 52 games.
During that season an incredible 16,280 Nynex crowd watched the Storm beat local rivals, the Blackburn Hawks, 11-3.
League attendance records followed with an astonishing 17,245 record crowd turned out to see the Storm crush arch rivals, the Sheffield Steelers, 6 – 3.
Two seasons later the team won the SuperLeague title and the following season won the Benson and Hedges Cup.
Daryl became the Storm’s Head Coach for season 2001-02 and although having a disappointing season, managed to guide them to the end of season Playoff Finals before losing out to rivals the Sheffield Steelers on penalty shots.
In the autumn of 2002, due to the Storm’s agreed shirt sponsor pulling out and with the teams revenue flow down to a trickle, in late October 2002, having played just 6 SuperLeague games, the team folded.
From being the first man in, in 1995, to the last man out, in 2002, the phrase “Will the last man out please turn off the lights” seems to have been especially written for Daryl.
You can listen to my Podcast interview with Daryl right now.