Blackpool Seagulls ice hockey: Gliding back in time

Blackpool Seagulls V Altrincham At the South Shore drome, in November 1967. Blackpool won by five goals to four
Blackpool Seagulls V Altrincham At the South Shore drome, in November 1967. Blackpool won by five goals to four
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Get your skates on to zip back in time to an era when ice hockey proved very cool on the Fylde coast.

We delve into the archives to take a look back at the sport in the resort in the last century.

Practising this afternoon on the frozen Stanley Park lake are members of the Seagulls Ice Hockey Club junior section, January 1963

Practising this afternoon on the frozen Stanley Park lake are members of the Seagulls Ice Hockey Club junior section, January 1963

Many of our library photos feature the Blackpool Seagulls. The Seagulls team was formed in 1951. They played most of their matches at the Pleasure Beach Ice Rink. The team was popular and successful – in the 1955-56 season, the Seagulls lost just one match all year.

In the 1960s, with no official leagues in the UK, non-league ice hockey continued – with mini tournaments taking place at various venues, including the ice rinks at Blackpool, Brighton Tigers, Durham Wasps, Southampton Vikings and Whitley Warriors.

Blackpool Seagulls and ice hockey’s popularity continued throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. From 1970 to 1978, they played in the Southern League which was then the top-flight ice hockey league in England.

In the 1981–82, four out of the six players in the English League North All-Star team were Blackpool Seagulls players – goal tender Andy Sharples, defenceman Steve Currie and forwards (and twin brothers) Canadians Brian and Bruce Simms.

In 1993, ice hockey came to an end in Blackpool after 42 years, because the rink at the Pleasure Beach was considered to be too small to host competitive ice hockey. For a short while the Seagulls name was retained as the club and some of its players moved to the Blackburn Arena. But within a couple of years the Seagulls name was dropped completely.

In 2011 the Seagulls name was revived, with a recreational team that included former Seagulls import Dave Anthony, who first played for them in 1984, and with a number of former players in the squad, playing at Sub Zero Ice Rink, in Cleveleys.