The Blueliner Guide to The Swindon Wildcats

League: English Premier League

Founded: 1986

Home ice: Link Centre, Swindon

Colours: Red, White

The Swindon Wildcats are another club that was formed in the mid 1980’s. However unlike their kin from that year the Cardiff Devils the Wildcats have not quite hit the same dizzy heights.

The early years for the Wildcats were hard and trophies were hard to come by but in the 1991/ 92 season the ‘Cats brought the Autumn Cup back to the Link Centre. Those early seasons also saw the signing of Daryl Lipsey. The Canadian forward spent 9 years at the club before moving into the highly successful Manchester Storm organisation.

After 10 years as the Wildcats the Swindon outfit became the Ice Lords. It was a change brought about by a change in ownership and saw an influx of money to side. It was an instant success as the side lifted the Premier League title and all seemed well until the money ran out after a season and the team reformed as the Swindon Chill.

It was name change that also didn’t last long as after two seasons the Chill became the Phoenix. The Swindon Phoenix also last only a season but in 2001 did herald a second Premier League trophy for the Link Centre. After a 3-year spell as the Swindon Lynx the Wildcats name returned in 2004.

The Link Centre

It is a name that has since then stuck as the organisation continues its work in growing local talent. Whilst the Wildcats have not managed more silverware they have developed a reputation for giant killing. In 2010 the Wildcats defeated the league champion Milton Keynes Lightning in the opening round of the playoffs and in 2012 the Wildcats beat the Manchester Phoenix at the Link Centre to effectively end their hopes of retaining the league title.

The future looks steady for Swindon as they continue to bring through young players although trophies may still be some way off. However if the spirit of that 2010 playoff team can be reignited you never know.

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