S2E11 – The Rob Breskal Podcast Interview
In today’s show I interview former Southampton Vikings, Dundee Rockets, Medway Bears and Bracknell Bees D-Man Rob Breskal.
Now living in New South Wales in Australia, Rob was born in Brighton on the UK’s south coast – a town with a rich hockey history but no proper Ice Rink since 1965 – a year before Rob was even born!
He talks of how a visit to a small back street Brighton garage got him into, first roller hockey and then, through another chance meeting, ice hockey
We’d go ice skating on a Sunday lunchtime to the tiny Brighton rink, it was about half the size of an end zone in a proper ice rink.
On this Sunday all these little ice hockey kids were there skating around, apparently the Streatham Ice Rink had closed for a refurb and so the team came to Brighton to train.
Rob being Rob, got permission to join in and so became the newest recruit to the Streatham juniors, first playing for the U14 Braves and then the U16 Scorpions.
Two seasons later, having heard that a new Brighton team had been formed, the Royals, he left Streatham to “go home”, the only problem being, having no home ice, they had to play all their games away for double points!
Rob’s next stop was Southampton, he’d been “spotted” by the Vikings Canadian player coaches, “the Simms Twins”, he was invited for a trial and was amazed to be offered a contract, he recalls:
They offered me Twenty Quid a week plus travelling expenses and I got all of my hockey kit for free – that’s where, at the young age of 17, I first heard the term win or lose, always booze.
The Vikings had a terrific season, winning the first division Championship and so promotion to the Premier league.
Unfortunately for Rob that meant, because of a bet, he had to run around the inside of the rink stark naked!
During this time Rob was chosen to play for the Great Britain U19 team and with fellow line mates Tony Hand, Ian and Stephen Cooper and John Iredale helped the team finish as runners up to Hungary in the 1984 European Championships Pool C.
His on-ice performances once again earned him a new contract, but this time with Premier league giants, the Dundee Rockets.
The Rockets boasted a host of top players, including ex NHL star Garry “Iron Man” Unger, fellow imports Roch Bois and Louis Cote plus talented British players Ally & Ronnie Wood, Martin McKay and Gary McEwan.
An exciting season followed, the Rockets finished 4th in the league, were Heineken Wembley Playoff Championship runners up and Scottish Cup winners.
By the end of that season (1985 – 86) a home sick Rob returned back to the south coast, signed for Medway and spent the next four season with the Bears, mostly as their captain.
However in the summer of 1990 the Bracknell Bees came a calling, making him an offer he really couldn’t refuse, he recalls,
I was very happy at Medway and had expected to end my career there – but Bracknell came in for me and offered to double my wages, what could I do?
So Rob signed for the Bees and was immediately voted by the other players as team captain.
Joining Bracknell was a good decision, the team finished third in the Heineken first division and were promoted to the Premier by finishing top of their Playoff group.
A season in the Premier followed but then after just 17 games of the following season the club released him and he chose to rejoined Medway, where he stayed a further two seasons until retiring after just five games into the 1995 – 96 season.
After retiring from the game Rob had a stint as a mature student, went onto the BBC’s Weakest Link game show and won it, the show’s presenter, Anne Robinson nicknamed him “the third gay Mitchell brother” – why gay (when he’s not), well you’ll just have to listen to the Podcast.
Today’s shout out goes to “Oscar Brownsword” who gave the Podcast a 5 Star Review on iTunes, he wrote:
“Just found this and the interviews with Frankie Killen and Mario Belanger brought memories of happy nights down the Riverside flooding back.
Would love to hear either “Mighty Mike” or Ivor Bennett in future, I bet the latter has a tale or two.
Cheers, keep up the great work
Thanks Oscar, I’ll see what I can do.
If you’re enjoying the Podcasts I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating, preferably a 5 star rating and a review on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.
Reading your reviews gives me a great boost, it’ll also help the Podcast get found by others.
All 5 Star reviews get a shout out on the Podcast – just like Oscar did above.
You can read other reviews and even leave one yourself by following this iTunes link.