Episode S2E03: The Tommy Plommer Interview.
Do you remember Ice Hockey in the early 90’s, when a team from Sheffield took British Hockey by storm?
It was a love hate relationship, Sheffield fans loved them, everyone else hated them – well, that’s old time hockey for you.
In today’s show I interview Sheffield Steelers legend Tommy “The Duke” Plommer, an 8 year veteran of that Sheffield Steelers team.
Canadian Tommy talks of his time here in the UK, first as a sixteen year old playing a season with the Irvine Magnum Wings in 1985 and then returning to Scotland six years later to play professional soccer for Ayr United.
However the lure of the rink proved too strong, the local team, now the Ayr Raiders, had parted company with their dual national and Tommy was persuaded to switch sports, signing for the Raiders in 1991 – Tommy had already received his dual national status months earlier, his parents having emigrated from Glasgow in 1968.
A year on and with the Ayr Raiders teetering on the brink of going out of business, Tommy had decided to return to Canada to complete his education but changed his mind after receiving a call from Dave Simms who, on recommendation of their netminder, former Fife Flyers Andy Donald, invited him to South Yorkshire to sign for the Sheffield Steelers, where over the years, he teamed up with Ron Shudra, Scott Neil, Les Millie, Ivan Matulik, Ken Priestlay, Selmar Odelein Nicky Chinn and Jamie Leach
They were looking for a dual national, I’d already played in the Premier League and wasn’t keen to drop down a division but eventually I decided to try it just for a year – I stayed eight!
Hockey night in Sheffield took off, crowds flocked to the brand new Arena and in no time all 8300 seats were sold out for virtually every game.
It didn’t take long for him to feel at home in Sheffield, he recalls,
“The fans were absolutely fantastic, I was a blue collar kid, playing in a blue collar town and that was perfect for me.
Early Glory Years
We talk of those early Steelers glory years, of the Championships and the Cup Final victories and in particular “that game, that night”, 25th March 1995 to be exact, when the Sheffield Steelers travelled to Nottingham. It was crunch time, win and the League title was theirs, lose and it would go to arch rivals, the Panthers.
We also talk about the Steelers first Wembley Championship Finals appearance in 1994, where, after a euphoric semi final “thumping” of fierce rivals, the Nottingham Panthers (8 – 0) they faced the Cardiff Devils and with key import D-Man Selmar Odelein pulling out minutes before the game with a back injury, import forward Steve Nemeth having to play with a broken hand, they themselves were “thumped” by a record Playoff Final score of 12 – 1, Tommy recalls,
With all that was going on, literally minutes before Face off, we probably lost the game mentally before it had even started.
We also talk how Mr Plommer became the “The Duke”, about rituals and superstitions and how he managed to stay with the same team for a total of 8 seasons, an amazing feat that is totally unheard of in North America.
We also talk of why he eventually chose to leave the club, opting to play a season for the Hull Thunder instead.
There’s more, much more…
Shout out time
Later in this episode I give a shout out to our latest email Newslettter subscribers – don’t forget that our subscribers receive a Free email Newsletter once a month with all the latest news on upcoming interviews plus, as a bonus, they also get access to extra Podcasts not available elsewhere, such as “The Sheep on the Durham Bus” with Frankie Killen and Rax the Destroyer with Marc Twaite.
The Tommy Plommer Extended Episode:
Interviewing Tommy proved to be a hockey reminiscing heaven with the completed interview consisting of almost two hours of great content.
However, according to the industry standard, a Podcast episode should be under 60 minutes, fortunately this episode meets that target with just 34 seconds to spare – so what do I do with all the extra content – a question I put to my Newsletter Mailing List.
Their answer – produce an extended episode.
You can also listen to other Podcast interviews from Tommy’s alumni of former Sheffield Steelers players:
Ron Shudra Episode S1E03
Les Millie Episode S1E05
Ken Priestlay Episode S1E09
Jamie Leach Episode S1E10
Ivan Matulik Episode S1E18
Scot Neil Episode S1E23
Selmar Odelein Episode S2E01
Steve Carpenter Episode S2 E06
Wayne Cowley Episode S3E01
Nicky Chinn Episode S3E02
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