SHEagles: The Steels Queens That Never Were - Part 1

As part of the celebration of Eagles’ history and because the Steel Queens will officially turn 1 years old in January 2019, I have a new feature to bring you on a monthly basis. In these features we will take a look at the women who played for the Eagles and Beagles long before the Steel Queens were even considered. These girls paved the way for the Steel Queens and memories of playing alongside them or coaching gave me the confidence to start the Steel Queens.

I hope that each piece will feature a passage from the players themselves. I hope you enjoy their take on this wonderful sport.

Chapter 1 – Amy Slater

When I came up with this concept, I knew this first instalment had to feature Amy Slater. If you have read my previous posts, you will know we have Amy to thank for the Eagles. If you haven’t read the entry, it can be found here.

Amy previously featured for the Beagles and Eagles. She now lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband and children and is a practising veterinarian. I asked Amy to essentially write the pilot feature and here is what she had to say:

"I started playing University Ice Hockey in 1999 when I started at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was a sport I had always wanted to try, but unfortunately did not have parents that were willing to do the hour and 30 minutes round trip to the nearest ice rink.

At the time there were only 6 University Ice hockey teams. The first National Championships took place in 2000 in a round robin format which just would not be possible now. I made amazing friends that still form the core of my friendship network today. Plus we also won the National Championship twice (Something my Eagle team mates may have heard me mention once or twice).

In October 2002 I started at Edinburgh University, knowing they did not have an ice hockey team. They did have a roller hockey team, so I thought that was close enough. Turns out it wasn’t close enough for my liking. So I joined the Lions, one of the recreational hockey teams playing out of Murrayfield. This was much more like it, but I missed the University competition side of things. From there I started making inquiries of how to get a University team up-and-running. The sports union president at the time was really supportive and helpful. I did the initial ground work during my first year at vet school. But then a fail at the end of my first year was a bit of a reality check about how hard I was going to find vet school, so I put the idea of setting an ice hockey team up on the back burner. What I didn’t realise was that the sport union had printed my name and number in the Sport Union brochure for 2003. It was not until Mr Richard Gray (Rambo) rang me to ask about the details of Edinburgh University Ice Hockey team that he wanted to join did I get my act together and finish the job. Something that I am so pleased I did, as I am not sure I would have made it through my vet degree without having something else away from vet school.

At the time there were no other University Ice hockey teams in Scotland, despite having more ice rinks per square mile than the rest of the U.K. It was not until after I had left University that other Scottish teams formed. The fact that Edinburgh has several teams, plus its own fully female team just shows how far the team has come. A big step up from the team of 11 that showed up at the National Championships in 2004 in borrowed shirts. I am still very proud to have played some part in this."

Amy also managed to dig out some old photos from her playing days. The picture in the Navy shirt was the original shirt we used for games and was essentially borrowed from Edinburgh Lions (who were good enough to give us a season long loan). Luckily Amy did get to wear the best Eagles jersey and the red top they still wear to this day can also be seen photographed.

Amy’s number 22 was retired after she stopped playing for the Eagles. The club also gives the Amy Slater Award out to distinguished long serving players.

Thank you to Amy for her time. The feature will be back in January when we will have another one of the SHEagles from those early days.




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