Ryde Arena opened on the 20th May 1991. Although our ice pad was too small for premier hockey it was agreed by the British Ice Hockey Association that “It looks as though we will allow English League One Ice Hockey at Ryde”.  

When the builders Gaul went under a short time later, and the proposed ex-Peterborough player-coach Steve Rattle disappeared from the scene, it was suggested that a certain long term hockey fanatic, Mick Green be asked to assist.  Mick assembled a squad of ex-Southampton and Bournemouth players and started the Solent Vikings. The first game, a friendly, was on a hot August the 31st 1991 versus Streatham Redskins (now, of course the Redhawks).The Vikings lost 2 – 10.  Vikings then bought in 2 “imports” in Sean Murphy and Dave McGahan from Canada and dual national Nick Rothwell.

On the 5th October 1991 the Vikings won their first League game 18 – 12 versus Solihull Barons. Captain of the Barons was Dan Sweeney. Sweeney was bought to the Island prior to the next season and Vikings changed their name to Wightlink Raiders. (for a short time Isle of Wight Raiders)

A History of Pro Hockey at Ryde Arena

Wight Sharks women’s team was formed c1993 as more women became interested in the sport. Pictured are from left Juliette Davis, Carol Taverner, Pat Short, Nicky Horwood, Jan Dixcey and regular Netminder Dawn Worth. Front: Andrea Jeffery, Sarah Medway, Rachel Banting, Sarah Knaggs and Tasmin Quinn.  Tasmin was later picked to play for Great Britain.

Some dropped out but several also played with the Dino’s and other recreational teams. 

The Solent Vikings 1991-1992

The Wight Sharks c1993

We are grateful to Pat Short for providing this Short History of Ryde Arena Ice Hockey

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We would like to thank Wightlink for their continued support, Ryde Town Council for their generous grant, Ryde Rotary Club and Ryde Slide for their donations and all those helping us to try to save Ryde Arena for our community.