Well now, where do I begin with Berke.
When Berke first joined the team in 2009, he had only been playing around 3 or 4 years, which was surprising because he looked like a fundamentally sound and comfortable goaltender. Berke is now approaching 10 years with the club and looks sharper than ever. So, in picking Berke as Number 1 this is not a case of ‘I am not sure, so I’ll pick the goalie’; Berke is truly a game breaker and fully merits the plaudits of being number 1.
Stylistically, Berke is a blend of great fundamentals and killer athleticism, which sees him routinely eat up shots from the slot then produce highlight reel stops when called upon. The one stop I will never forget actually came in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final v Dundee Michelin as a member of the Phoenix*; Berke was on the right side of the net where the Michelin forward had the puck, what can only be described as a perfect pass was made to the left and one timer came in (game tied 0-0)… silence (video). Our bench thought it was a goal (as did Dundee) but Berke had other ideas by making his way across and making a spectacular glove save out of the air. I could harp on all day about other saves, but I’ll leave it at one.
Berke’s recorded Eagles’ stats show a solid average save percentage of 91% and a handy win-to-loss ratio. Berke was also an instrumental defensive player with the Edinburgh Beagles, the now defunct Edinburgh B team, having netted a couple of goals and was part of the BUIHA Division 3 Cup (now Division 1 Non-Checking) winning side. While his stats are impressive, his list of accomplishments doesn't end there.
Beyond his stats, Berke’s highlights and accolades go much further, having signed a pro contract with Baskent Yildizlari SK in Turkey in 2012-13. During his time there, he iced for the club twice in the IIHF Continental Cup competition. However, his commitment to the Eagles remained strong as he returned to the Eagles to the semi-finals of Nationals in the same year.
Berke's play resulted in numerous BUIHA honours. He was selected as two-time Nationals All Star in the two years since it's inception - and was selected as one of three goaltenders for the BUIHA International All Stars select club. He was chosen as the starter in the challenge game against the Great British Universities (GBU) side in 2018, and was the only goaltender to record a perfect record in his period of play. His performance carried over to BUIHA Tier 1 Nationals that weekend, having recorded a shut-out streak with the Eagles - only to be ended by St Andrews in the semi-final.
As a result, Berke has been the recipient of many club awards. He is no stranger to receiving Player of the Year award, as selected by members of the club, and even was named co-captain of the team in 2013-14. Off the ice, Berke was also a key committee member; having previously served as Club President and BUIHA Players’ Representative.
Well done to Berke and everyone who featured here. Whilst the list has come to an end, there are more historical posts to come - starting with the list’s epilogue tomorrow.
*Editor's notes: it should be highlighted that Eagles were eligible and opted to play with the Edinburgh Phoenix Recreational side prior to changes made by Scottish Ice Hockey. Under new changes, no Eagles players currently play with the Edinburgh Phoenix.