Sunday November 19, 2017
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Danny Stewart sets a new EIHL record tonight for most games played

563. That’s how many times Danny Stewart has laced up his skates in the Elite Ice Hockey League. Let’s put that in to perspective. In order to achieve this feat it has taken 10 seasons, averaging over 56 games per season. At 36 years of age, Stewart has laced his skates up over 800 times during his professional career, having spent 3 seasons in North America prior to his first game in the UK.

In 563 games in the EIHL, Danny has scored 122 goals, 230 assists for 352 points. Points only tell one side of Danny’s game, the other side of his game comes with the penalty minutes, 1124 PIMs.

The journey to Danny’s EIHL record started more than 10 years ago, it actually goes back 36 years, in the heart of Canada in a small town called Fort McMurray, Alberta. Fort McMurray sits on top of the one of the world’s largest oil deposits.

As a young blonde haired ‘bairn’, like all Canucks, Danny started his relationship with ice hockey as soon as he could walk. As a youngster Danny played scheduled ice hockey, as well as street hockey and on the frozen ponds of Alberta.

Danny grew up watching and wanting to play for Edmonton Oilers, who were one of the most successful teams in the NHL in the 1980’s, icing Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, the 2 players that inspired Danny as he was learning the game.

Fans from around the UK know the hard style of game that Danny plays, his parents, Joan and Mel Stewart recall that he was like this even as a young boy growing up. “He was definitely like this as a youngster playing sports of any kind. Being the youngest of three boys could be a contributing factor”.

‘Stewy’ headed off to Miami University, Ohio, where he received a full ice hockey scholarship and studied Sports Management.

After graduation in 2003, Stewy signed for a club who went on to have a number of former players also play with Fife, Fort Wayne Komets. In 2004 Danny bagged his first championship after winning the UHL Western Conference and League title with Fort Wayne. A year later he came close to his first play-off championship but lost-out in a 4-2 series final to Muskegon Fury.

During his 2 years with Fort Wayne (Indiana), Danny iced 180 times scoring 65 points and totalling 405 penalty minutes, those are some impressive PIM’s for a guy who isn’t an enforcer.

During the 2005/06 season, Danny came close to another play-off championship as he iced with Danbury Thrashers but lost-out in a 4-1 series final, this time to Kalamazoo Wings.

The following season Danny left North America for a new adventure and signed in the UK for Coventry Blaze after a recommendation to then head coach Paul Thompson from a player who is also well known in the Elite Ice Hockey League, Sylvain Cloutier. That recommendation “Sign him I want to punch that guy!”

Paul Thompson took time out from his coaching role with Sheffield Steelers to recall his working with Danny.

I was on the look-out for a high energy player who would get under the skins of the opposing players, and after speaking to some of the guys on the team, Sylvain Cloutier and Barrie Moore, the name Danny Stewart came up. I spoke with Danny on the phone and within an hour we had agreed for Danny to come over to the UK”. – Paul Thompson, former Coventry Blaze head coach, now Sheffield Steelers

In his first season with the Blaze in 2006/07, Coventry won both the EIHL league title and EIHL Challenge Cup. Stewart returned for the 2007/08 season with Coventry and wrapped up his second EIHL league title after finishing 6 points ahead of Sheffield Steelers, that season also saw Coventry win the EIHL Knock-Out Cup. 2008/09 Coventry were league runners up, this time it was Sheffield who were crowned league winners but in his final season with Coventry in the 2009/10 season Stewart won his 3rd EIHL league title after a close run battle with Belfast Giants, with Coventry securing the league title by 1 point.

In 2010/11 it was time for a change. Having won a myriad of silverware with Coventry Blaze, Stewy headed North, to Newcastle. Newcastle Vipers were the defending EIHL playoff champions the season Danny arrived in Coventry after Vipers defeated Sheffield Steelers 2-1 in the play-off final at Nottingham Ice Arena in 2005/06.

General Manager of Newcastle Vipers Jaimie Longmuir appointed Danny as player/coach in what was to be the club’s final season in the EIHL, paving the way for Fife Flyers to join. Despite all the turmoil of Newcastle’s final season in the EIHL, which saw several key members of the squad leave, Stewart stood by the club and went on to be awarded Coach of the Year. Longmuir spoke about the professionalism of Stewart in what was a very tough year.

Danny was a tremendous servant for the Newcastle Vipers, even if it was for only one season.  Danny worked extremely hard and demonstrated amazing leadership on and off the ice throughout his time with the club.  There is no doubt if it wasn’t for Danny and his ability to manage the players, the club would have struggled to complete its final season.”  - Jaimie Longmuir, ex-Newcastle Vipers GM

Stewart himself has described his year in Newcastle as one of the toughest challenges he’s ever faced and likened his 1 year to a 5 year experience, having gone through so much during his short time on Tyneside.

It was these events however that lead to Fife returning to top flight ice hockey since playing in the British National League until its demise after the 2004/05 season after spending 6 seasons playing in the Scottish National League and then latterly the Northern League.

Current Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume spoke about how bringing Danny Stewart to Kirkcaldy came about. 

I was contacted by Jaimie Longmuir who had worked with Danny in Newcastle. He assured me that we wouldn't regret bringing Danny on-board. 

Danny has a work ethic and passion for the game that is second to none. I think that's obvious in his play - this accomplishment takes commitment and sacrifice. It's easy to tell when a player's heart is not in it - Danny hasn't let his compete factor slip in the slightest since he's joined Fife.

Off ice he's brought fresh ideas, been a driving force and would do anything to bring success to this club.” – Todd Dutiaume, head coach Fife Flyers.

Stewart is now in his 5th season with Fife and has seen the organisation grow from the EIHL newcomer to a solid member of the 10 team league.

Well after the season in Newcastle we had actually contemplated going back if the team was able to make it work with possible new ownership. So around mid-May when the decision was made to not go ahead I had to begin searching.

That year I had just come off shoulder surgery and played the whole year D whilst coaching so I wasn't getting many hits from other teams to be honest from a coaching stand point.

I then received a call from Dutes and began researching into Fife. It wasn't long before I learned about the tradition and I had always had thoughts of being in Scotland in some regard. I was in no way prepared to show up and start the season with 4 imports that year and was another year of adversity to say the least.

In saying that, I am very proud to have played a part in bringing the club to where it is now and although we are not on the top of the league or winning championships yet, I do believe the progress we have made off and on the ice has been great and I will continue to play my part as long as I am involved!”- Danny Stewart, EIHL 2006 to present.

This weekend make sure you pick up a copy of our special edition match night programme as we celebrate Danny Stewart becoming the all-time EIHL leader for games played for an import.

In this special edition we hear from former Coventry head coach Paul Thompson, teammates Sylvain Cloutier, Barrie Moore, former Fort Wayne teammate Sean Venedam, former off ice colleagues and fans from Coventry and Newcastle, the previous record holder Gerad Adams, EIHL Chairman Tony Smith, as well as a host of former Flyers players.

2017/18 EIHL LEAGUE STANDINGS

TeamGPPts
Manchester Manchester 17 24
Nottingham Panthers Nottingham 15 24
Belfast Giants Belfast 18 21
Sheffield Steelers Sheffield 17 21
MK Lightning MK 18 19
Fife Flyers Fife 13 18
Cardiff Devils Cardiff 14 18
Coventry Blaze Coventry 16 18
Braehead Clan Braehead 16 15
Guilford Flames Guildford 15 15
Dundee Stars Dundee 16 13
Edinburgh Capitals Edinburgh 15 2
  Full Standings  

Elite Ice Hockey League

The Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) is a professional ice hockey league in the United Kingdom formed in 2003. The league currently consists of 12 teams, with Braehead (SCO), Belfast (NIR), Cardiff (WAL), Coventry (ENG), Dundee (SCO), Edinburgh (SCO), Fife (SCO), Guildford (ENG), Manchester (ENG), Milton Keynes (ENG), Nottingham (ENG) and Sheffield (ENG).

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About Flyers

The Fife Flyers, established in 1938, are the oldest professional ice hockey team in the United Kingdom. The team has a history of success through the ages, with over 60 Scottish and British cups and titles to their name.

Fife Ice Arena, Rosslyn Street
Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, KY1 3HS 

Phone: 01592568702
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Web: fifeflyers.co.uk

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