Josh Haslam, who has won championships in ice hockey and lacrosse, is playing a key role for Cardiff Fire this season.
Caerphilly-born forward Haslam was seven-years-old when he started playing hockey at the old Wales National Ice Rink and has played in Cardiff ever since.
He was selected for South West Conference teams at every level from under-11 upwards and at the age of 17 he started training full-time with Devils and stayed in South Wales to study.
He played lacrosse at the University of South Wales and Haslam says: “We won our BUCS League title twice in three years.
“What a brutal sport. Love it.”
Haslam was in the Fire teams who won the NIHL title twice in a row and says: “They are right up there with my proudest moments in hockey.
“The team atmosphere and the bunch of beauties we had in our locker room was unreal. I couldn’t have asked to win the league twice with anybody better.”
Haslam, 23, played for Fire in their opening League fixture of the season against Basingstoke Buffalo, who won a hard fought match 4-3.
The next match for head coach Chris Douglas and his Fire team is against Slough Jets at Ice Arena Wales on Sunday, October 7.
Haslam started playing hockey after being asked to try out for the under-10 team when he was spotted skating in the old Cardiff rink and he went on to play through the age groups and for England at levels up to under-18.
— Cardiff Fire IHC 🏒🥅🏴 (@CardiffFireIHC) August 1, 2018
He wears number 92 and explains: “Coming through the Devils junior set-up I always wore 12, but when stepping up to English National League Two that number was taken.
“I was handed a game jersey with 29 on it. As a hockey player you just know when a number doesn’t feel right. Coaches Lyndon Pezzack and Chris Jones suggested swapping the numbers around and, well, the rest is history.”
The next test for Cardiff Fire, sponsored by Premier Taxis, is against Slough Jets, whose player-coach is Czech-born Lukas Smital and his son, Matthew, plays in goal.
Former Johnstown Chiefs (East Coast League), St John Flames (American HL), Bracknell and Guildford winger Smital, ged 44, has Joe Ciccarello as his assistant coach.
Chris ‘Disco’ Douglas is Fire player-coach, one of three netminders on the roster along with junior Lewis Davies, who impressed last season for both the NIHL One and NIHL Two teams at the age of 17, plus long-time Cardiff NIHL goalie James Whiting.
Fire have also signed Ben Scanlan on a two-way contract with Cardiff Devils under-18 team.
Eight D-men had been signed, including Andrew Norris on a two-deal deal with Devils under-18s.
Hard-hitting Swedish defenceman Viktor Langseth, 22, adds blue line toughness, while 34-year-old former Devils player Phil Manny has tons of experience from Elite League, English Premier and NIHL.
Joe Morris, 23, has been a member of various Cardiff sides for a number of seasons, while ex-Cardiff NIHL Devils player Tom Smith returns to Wales after four years in Canada.
Morris returns for a third season in the Fire jersey, scoring a point a game in the Fire 2 team 2017-18 and was voted players player of the year. He also stepped up to the Fire One team five times.
Morris has vast experience in senior hockey, playing 16 games at the age of 16 in Cardiff’s NIHL team and has played in every season since. He has made 162 appearances.
Veteran defenceman Tom Smith, 32, is back in Cardiff after four years living and working in Canada. He is a calm, experienced defenceman who brings a lot of experience and leadership to the team, while adding a big physical presence.
Combative 21-year-old Elis Sheppard and teenager Iwan Davies complete the blue line unit and will aim to develop their games this season.
Alan Armour, aged 42, is back among the forwards, playing his 28th season of senior hockey. The last four of those have been with Fire.
Other returnees are Hungarian-born Tamas Elias and four 20-year-olds in Samual Bryant, Elliott Murdoch, Ben Smith and Lewis Stevens.
Ricky Deacon, Jackson Price and Haslam are among other players who add quality to this Fire team, who will be keen to bounce back with a win against Slough Jets on Sunday week.
Cardiff Fire club officials:
Director of hockey: Mark Cuddihy.
Head coach: Chris Douglas.
Director of player development: Mark Smith.
Cardiff Fire team roster:
Goalies: Chris Douglas, James Whiting, Lewis Davies, Ben Scanlan (2-way contract with Cardiff u-18).
Defencemen: Viktor Langseth, Andre Norris (2-way contract with Cardiff u-18), Ellis Sheppard, Phil Manny, Joe Morris, Tom Smith, Iwan Davies, Ross Wilkinson,
Forwards: Michael Hutchins, Morgan Evans (2-way contract with Cardiff u-18), Carter Lloyd (2-way contract with Cardiff u-18), Sam Bryant, Tamas Elias, Alan Armour, Elliott Murdoch, Lewis Stevens, Ricky Deacon, Jackson Price, Josh Haslam, Jordan Powell.
Cardiff Fire fixtures 2018-19 (all fixtures at Ice Arena Wales):
Sunday 23 v Basingstoke Buffalo (home, 6pm)
Sunday 7 v Slough Jets (home, 6pm)
Saturday 13 v Invicta (away, 5.15pm)
Sunday 14 v Bracknell Hornets (home, 6pm)
Saturday 20 Bristol Pitbulls (away, 5pm)
Saturday 27 v Slough Jets (away, 5.45pm)
Sunday 28 v Lee Valley Lions (home, 6pm)
Saturday 3 v Bracknell Hornets (away, 6pm)
Saturday 10 v Solent Devils (away, 5pm)
Saturday 17 v Basingstoke Buffalo (away, 6.15pm)
Sunday 18 v Swindon Wildcats (home, 6pm)
Saturday 1 v Romford Raiders (home, 6.30pm)
Saturday 5 v Lee Valley Lions (away, 5.30pm)
Sunday 6 v Chelmsford Chieftains (home, 6pm)
Saturday 12 v Swindon Wildcats (away, 6.15pm)
Saturday 19 v Peterborough Phantoms (away, 6.15pm)
Saturday 26 v Guildford (home, 6.30pm)
Sunday 27 v Oxford City Stars (home, 6pm)
Saturday 16 v Raiders (away, 5.15pm)
Sunday 17 v Bristol Pitbulls (home, 6pm)
Sunday 24 v Solent Devils (home, 6pm)
Saturday 2 v Peterborough Phantoms (home, 6.30pm)
Sunday 10 v Guildford (away, 5.30pm)
Sunday 17 v Haringey Huskies (away, 5.30pm)
Sunday 24 v Haringey Huskies (home, 6pm)
Sunday 31 v Invicta (home, 6pm)
Sunday 7 v Oxford City Stars (away, 6.15pm)
TBA: Chelmsford Chieftains (away)