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Ice hockey: Freeze legends beat Deeside Dragons as stars take part in charity match

THE stars came out at Deeside Ice Rink to raise money for good causes and remind Flintshire Freeze fans just what their club is capable of achieving.

A charity ice hockey game saw a team of current Freeze players and legends take on Deeside Dragons, revived for one night only and featuring players who had either turned out for the Dragons or had some connection to the forefathers of the Freeze.

The match, sponsored by Co-operative Funeralcare and Moneysupermarket.com, was raising money for Mencap and the Wales Air Ambulance and the idea started with a suggestion from perhaps the Freeze’s most legendary name – Mark Stokes.

“Mark was chatting to current Freeze player Steve Fellows about the possibility of doing something for charity,” said Ian Taylor, who co-ordinated the event.

“We got in touch with a few players and they were keen so over a couple of months it took shape. We got some sponsorship to cover the cost of putting the event on which meant that 100% of the proceeds on the day could go to charity.”

An estimated 600 fans turned up on Saturday to see players like Pete Founds, Dave Costelloe, Gary Shaw and Stokes himself take to the ice once more.

But combative Canadian Stokes – the man who sparked the idea – almost didn’t make it on to the rink.

“Mark had a hip operation four months ago,” said Taylor. “A couple of weeks before the event he called up and said he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play.”

“But after that phone call he kept calling people up to get hold of bits of kit here and there. He told me he’s come on at the start and go a couple of minutes before coming off.

“So that’s what we expected on the day. But Mark being Mark he was still out there at the end. He was a lot slower and not the Mark Stokes of old, but he still has that class and competitive nature.”

Competition was not in short supply as the game wore on.

The Freeze took an early 3-0 lead and it looked like a whitewash was on the cards.

But the Dragons rallied and as the final buzzer drew closer it became like a league game as the pace increased and the performance levels with them.

In the end the Dragons fell a little short, losing 11-9 but the real winners were the good causes. The event managed to raise about £3,000 for the two charities, with money still to be counted.

“It was a great event, well supported by sponsors, players and fans, it was our biggest crowd at the rink for some years,” said Taylor.

“I think we will definitely do it again next year and try to better this year’s total.”