London Ice Hockey - Streatham Ice Hockey News 2014 | Streatham Ice Hockey -
Apr 10, 2018

Cornish building for new season

Streatham IHC coach Jeremy Cornish maintains he is willing to be patient this summer as he looks to upgrade his squad in South London ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Article from Pro Hockey News: 

The 38 year old Canadian confirmed he will be back on the bench for the RedHawks, who ended their first season in the new look NIHL in a comfortable mid table position. Cornish added no less than nine new faces to the squad last summer, after the club learned that four former EPL sides would be joining the league thus raising the standard of competition.

“Initially it was a pretty big shock when we learned of the new structure because I had recruited most of the team by then” explained the former Elite League enforcer turned coach.

“With that being said, I don’t think I would have changed my approach very much. It took me a couple weeks to really accept the change but after that I was really keen to see how the squad we had put together would do in the new league.”

“I think we were pretty successful putting a quick, hardworking team together. I can’t fault the guys at all in that respect. I think we proved that we could skate and play with anyone in the league when we kept our feet moving.” 

With all the upheaval and uncertainty across the league, not to mention the departure from the squad of a number of popular long time players, Cornish faced a perfect storm of issues to deal with in SW16 as he battled to mould a new squad of players together with no easy fixtures in sight.

With the league formats unlikely to change too much this summer the path ahead is much clearer for all teams, and Cornish will face a battle to fend off competition from across the league for player signatures.

“Everyone knows Streatham is one of the smaller teams now in this league, but if we recruit properly we will do well” said Cornish, who built his coaching reputation with the Wightlink Raiders after joining them from Basingstoke Bison in 2009.

“It takes time to build a team and last year was really a test for everyone concerned. I’m looking forward to getting on the phone and building a team that Streatham can continue to be proud of. Let’s just say I won’t be happy with another 6th place finish, so fingers crossed on that.”

Reflecting on a season where Streatham enjoyed many highs and lows is difficult for a man who is always aiming to contend for trophies, so despite wins over Basingstoke, Swindon, Bracknell and a good early cup run, Cornish is coy when it comes to summarising the previous campaign.

“I don’t like to pin-point an exact highlight of a season when the season isn’t successful, but I would like to say when we were in our game we were a difficult team to beat” he explained.

“The lowlights would be the same, we had a young team and consistency was our biggest let-down. The quality of players across the league was the biggest difference to the old NIHL along with some better coaches.”

“The games were much faster and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. I’m hoping we use this past season as a bar and can recruit better this summer and compete on a more consistent level this upcoming year. I’m going to take more time this year putting the squad together, making sure we improve in the areas where we need to.”

Despite the guarded comments from the coach, the RedHawks fans still had plenty to cheer last year and pre-season fears of a long hard struggle failed to materialise aside from an early seven game losing streak.

All of the big name signings who arrived in South London lived up to their reputations. In Michael Farn they picked up the eventual league player of the year and top scoring defenseman in all competitions, and new Captain Adam Carr posted his best points tally for a number of years leading the team in goals. The feisty Ryan Watt and Brandon Miles had the crowd on their feet with goals and punches and the likes of Aidan Doughty, Ryan Webb and Alex Sampford all hit double figures to provide additional scoring threats.

Mid-season acquisitions of locally based Canadian Andreas Siagris and former Cardiff man Jamie Hayes proved shrewd pick- ups with both playing a key role in addressing the depth of a team, that relied on the speed of the likes of Jacob Ranson and Joe Allen to harass teams.

Goalie pairing Matt Colclough and Nate Gregory stood up to be counted between the pipes and the defensive unit as a whole proved a solid barrier to opposition forwards. All in all the team stood up well to a campaign that on paper looked to be a tough ask but in which they all performed admirably and looked like they belonged.

In addition, crowds held steady with some near full houses, mixed with some lower numbers, partly due to scheduling that left the team with a number of late face-offs on a Sunday.

For Cornish the phone calls and messages have already begun, but with many other coaches in exactly the same position, Streatham fans will be hoping he can work his magic using the budget at his disposal.