Ball hockey: Think Mighty Ducks meets Rollerball – without the skates. The ferocious, fast-paced game has been steadily increasing in popularity in the ‘diff over the past few years, attracting former ice and field hockey players alike – plus those who have never picked up a stick. I spoke to Danny Langhorn from the South Wales Samurai, one of Cardiff’s newest ball hockey sides.
When were the South Wales Samurai set-up?
Our last tournament as the Devils was in Newcastle in August – after the Cardiff Devils were taken over by Todd Kelman and a consortium of Canadian business men. Following an awful season for the organisation both on and off the ice, he decided (and rightfully so) that he was going to strip everything back so the name would only be used by the main squad. This meant that in September we became the South Wales Samurai and we debuted in our first tournament on November 8th – topping our group and missing out narrowly in the final 3-2.
How many players do you have in total? Are you all from Wales or do you have a range of nationalities?
We have about 25 players all together – with other people coming along to train now and again either to try the sport out or for fitness. Nationalities vary, most guys are from South Wales with a couple of North Walians mixed in, a few English folk and a Slovakian for good measure! Our captain Tom Link has been trialling for the GB team hoping to make the final squad heading to the World Championships next year!
How many competitions have you been involved in to date?
Under the Devils name we played six or seven tournaments, two of which we hosted in Cardiff. In August we went up to Newcastle to take on the Newcastle Dekstars three squads as well as the Sheffield Knights. We beat the Dekstars in the final to win the Summer Cup. This was a huge moment for our club and one we will never forget – it was a great way to end the Devils. As the Samurai we kept on rolling making the finals in our debut including beating our local rivals Cardiff Thunder 4-1 and 5-0 along the way!
Plans for the future?
The plans for the future are simple – become the biggest and best club in the UK. We want to be an organisation from top to bottom that other squads aspire to be like. A lot of us come from none hockey backgrounds so it’s great to see new faces and show people the sport. Ice hockey is restricting in the sense you need to skate to play it and it’s quite costly to do so. Here we offer a similar sport which is far more affordable and accessible to the average Joe! Samurai is a club that will never quit, we see ourselves as warriors on and off the court.
We are also holding an inter-club Christmas Cup on December 9th where the club has picked two captains who’ve drafted two squads that will go head to head for the cup. One is playing in support of Wales Air Ambulance, the other for the British Heart Foundation – this is a great opportunity for people to come along and watch us play and see what it’s all about!
South Wales Samurai train every Tuesday at Penarth Leisure Centre between 7 and 9pm. Training costs £6.00 and kit is provided for those wanting to trial the sport.
To find out more about South Wales Samurai, follow @SamuraiBHC or visit https://www.facebook.com/SouthWalesSamurai