In December, I will be going through the 25 greatest Eagles and, at times, I will bring up two teams you may not have heard of: the Edinburgh Phoenix and the Edinburgh Beagles. I figure it best to explain them in brief terms so you are not left bamboozled later on.
The inaugural Eagles season finished at the 2004 BUIHA National Championships (more later). The team travelled there on a minibus. At the time most of the team were recreational players with the Edinburgh Lions or Stingers, with the exception of my cousin Keith Hogg, who wasn’t even registered (our club was young and well – stupid).
On the way back home a conversation was started by goaltender Mark Brownlie about starting his own recreational team that we could all join so we could play together. Eventually with a tonne of help from Steve Walker the Edinburgh Phoenix were formed in the 2004-05 season. I managed to become the fixtures secretary, as I volunteered to organise our first game which as 19-1 pasting at the hands of the Dumfries Demons.
Anyway, fast forward a couple of months. The SIHA (Scottish Ice Hockey Association) came to us to chat about the university team, as it was all new to both parties. The decision was made that the Eagles would have to set up as a separate entity with no registered players and then all uni eligible players would effectively guest with the Phoenix when we played in the cup.
Despite the Phoenix and Eagles on paper being two separate clubs, there was no way in practice that was the case. Thus the Pheagles nation was born, where the Eagles were the university and the Phoenix were known as ‘that uni team.’
Over the years, the Phoenix gained more players from outside the university. This, coupled with the close link to the Eagles, led them to have an absolutely fantastic roster over the years.
Highlights for the Phoenix included winning the Scottish Plate in 2009, the Scottish Cup (pictured above), as well as the Paisley Blackhawks 20th Anniversary Tournament, in 2013. The team also won the fair play award in Scottish competitions from 2008-2013.
Following the Scottish Cup triumph, the rules on eligibility would change leading to a fight to keep the Phoenix and university clubs alive, but guess what I am writing this, so the Eagles and Phoenix both live on and face off against each other in the Steve Walker Cup.
Following an influx of beginners into the club and the growth of the non-checking in the BUIHA, I took the view that the Eagles should expand their horizons and the Beagles were formed (Eagles B – get it?).
In 2007, the Beagles got together - with Niall Balloch serving as captain. The inaugural jersey was powder blue with a clip art Beagle as a crest (as seen above). They never won a game in Division III Nationals but the seed was planted and the Beagles became a tremendous asset, allowing a stepping stone for less experienced players to get into the sport.
The Beagles eventually won Non-Checking’s Cup competition and would essentially become the farm team to the Eagles - as they moved up to compete in the checking’s second division.
Unfortunately the policy changes referred to in 2013 led to the demise of the Beagles who played their last game in 2014. Much like the Cleveland Browns, the history remains and hopefully the years to come will see a return of the much loved Beagles.