S2E06 – The Steve Carpenter Podcast Interview
In today’s show I interview former Solihull Blaze, Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers, Coventry Blaze and Milton Keynes Lightning hard hitting D-Man Steve Carpenter.
After a successful time in Canadian junior hockey and then a season in the East Coast Hockey League, Steve tells how he came to sign for the Solihull Blaze through a recommendation from old friend Justin George who himself had been recommend by an old friend, Sheffield Steelers star forward Ken Priestlay.
The Sheffield Steelers needed a new forward, Ken Priestlay recommended his good friend Justin George, but after a few games he moved to Solihull. Coach Paul Thompson needed a new D-Man and my good friend Justin suggested me.
He arrived into Gatwick intent on spending just one season in the UK before retiring and taking up a coaching position back home – in the end he stayed nine.
We talk of Solihull coach Paul Thompson, of the characters of that Blaze team, including Les Millie, Justin George and Kurt Irvine and of a season that promised so much but ended with financial problems which lead to the fans having bucket collections to try to make up for Steve and the other imports’ unpaid wages.
At the end of a season plagued by financial problems, Steve moved to Nottingham, signing a three year contract with the Panthers and teaming up with coach Mike Blaisdell and best friend Greg Haddon.
Steve enjoyed three successful seasons in Nottingham as the Panthers went on to win the Norwich Union Cup, finished runners up in both the Superleague and the Challenge cup (twice).
At the end of his contract Steve moved a few miles up the motorway to join his old coach Mike Blaisdell in Sheffield. “Blaiser” had parted company with the Nottingham club earlier in the season and now his new team, bitter rivals of the Panthers, the Sheffield Steelers, were about to become a team that was to conquer all before them. Despite financial problems hitting them hard in mid season, they still became Grand Slam Champions of 2000 – 01.
It was also a season their fans would never forget for another reason, namely the now infamous “Battle of Lower Parliament Street” of 9th February 2001.
Steve talks of how and why many Nottingham Panther’s fans still think he was responsible for the bench clearance and also explains why he wasn’t!
By the end of the season it was time to move on and once again honours followed as he linked up with another former coach, Paul Thompson, at the Coventry Blaze, winning a League and Playoff Championship and finishing runners up on four other occasions.
He also tells of how late training times at Coventry led him to fill his days volunteering at a local Coventry school, which developed quickly into a teaching assistant post and then lead him into a full time teacher training course.
It was a career changer as it put him on the road to becoming firstly a full time school teacher in Coventry and now a deputy Principal at an Elementary school back home in British Columbia.
Due to ever increasing teaching demands Steve decided to leave Coventry at the end of the 2003 – 04 season and with the help of former Solihull team mate, Kurt Irvine, dropped down to a lesser demanding league and joined the Milton Keynes Lightning.
Once again success was to follow and as Steve decided to make this his last season before retiring, his new team went on to win both the League and Playoff Championships, it was a fitting end to his UK hockey career.
My first Shout Out goes to Guildford born Brendan Perlini who recently made his NHL debut and scored his 1st goal for the Arizona Coyotes.
Brendan’s dad, former Toronto Maple Leaf and Nottingham Panthers forward Fred Perlini, predicted he’d make the NHL when I interviewed him in Series 1 episode 20.
So, here’s to a long and successful NHL career. Well done Brendan.
My second Shout Out goes to former Solihull & Coventry Blaze coach Paul Thompson.
The current Sheffield Steelers coach published his book ‘Benched: Blazing a trail through British Ice Hockey’ back in 2004, I thought it was a really good, insightful read and although it’s over 12 years old, copies are still available on Amazon and eBay.
I’d thoroughly recommend it
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