Cardiff Devils

The Cardiff Devils (Welsh: Cythreuliaid Caerdydd) are a Welsh ice hockey team who play in the British Elite Ice Hockey League. The team last played out of Viola Arena[1] in Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff Devils
CityCardiff, Wales
LeagueElite Ice Hockey League
Home arenaIce Arena Wales (IAW)
ColoursRed, white, black
Owner(s)Steve King
Brian Parker
Craig Shostak
Kelly Hughes
General managerTodd Kelman
Head coachJarrod Skalde
AffiliatesCardiff Fire
Regular season titles1989–90, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1996–97, 2016–17, 2017–18
Autumn Cups1993–94
Challenge Cups2005–06, 2014–15, 2016–17
Playoff championships1989–90, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1998–99, 2017–18, 2018–19

The Devils recently missed out on the league title on the final day of the 2018–19 season after losing 3–1 to Coventry Blaze, allowing the Belfast Giants to win the league. Cardiff are the reigning EIHL playoff champions, winning their second title in a row after beating the Belfast Giants 2–1 at the 2019 EIHL Playoff Final.[2]


Founded in 1986, the club became the dominant force in the sport in the late 1980s and early 1990s, winning a total of 7 league titles.

The Cardiff Devils were formed during the summer of 1986 when Sports Nationwide built the Wales National Ice Rink in the centre of Cardiff. John Lawless, a 25-year-old Canadian, was given the responsibility of setting up a brand new team, having been a trainee assistant manager at Peterborough who were owned by the same company.


The club entered the British Ice Hockey League Structure at the bottom in Division 2 (Midland Section) at a time when each team was only allowed a maximum of three import players. With Lawless deciding to play himself, he brought over fellow Canadians Perry Olivier and Bill Taylor to join him on the roster, with the remaining places going to British players, one of whom, Paul Morganti, a student at Cardiff University, had been raised in Canada and had significant high school hockey experience. With the WNIR not ready for the start of the season, the team played several games away from home to begin with. The Cardiff Devils' first ever game was a Challenge match away to the Oxford City Stars on 12 October 1986. Despite Oxford playing in the division above, the Devils won the game 9–8.

Cardiff finally got to play their first ever game at the WNIR on 30 November 1986 where a crowd of 2500 saw their new heroes humiliate Ashfield Islanders 32–0.

Devils finished the league season unbeaten with 13 wins and 1 draw from 14 games to finish top of Division 2 (Midlands), 2 points clear of Welsh rivals Deeside Dragons. Promotion to Division 1 though was dependent on them winning the Division 1 Play-off Champions, which the club hosted at the WNIR. Their semi-final against Northern winners Grimsby Buffaloes was surrounded in controversy when the game was abandoned after a 34-player bench clearance with Cardiff leading 10–4. The BIHA officials though ruled that it had been provoked by the English side and hence the score should stand as a final result. In the other semi-final Scottish League Champions Aviemore Blackhawks beat Southern Winners Streatham Bruins(13–4) to set up an all Celtic final the following day. Unfortunately for the Devils, despite a final period comeback after being 4 goals behind, Aviemore were able to hang on for a 10–9 win and promotion to Division 1 at the expense of Cardiff. But in a strange twist of fate the result proved to be irrelevant. The BIHA decided the league structure needed re-organising, and as a result the Cardiff Devils were moved into Division 1 (South) for the following season.


Following promotion to Division 1 (South) and a new Sponsorship deal, Lawless was able to strengthen his team. Key signings included netminder Jeff Smith, coach Brian Kanewischer and Canadian defenceman Shannon Hope as a replacement for Bill Taylor who was injured midway through the previous season. The season proved to be successful with the Devils winning the Autumn Trophy in November with an 11–10 aggregate win over the Trafford Metros.

In the league the side finished a very respectable 3rd place, although 10 points behind winners Telford Tigers. The two teams had created a fierce rivalry during the season due to several controversial and violent games. During a game on 16 January in Telford, the Devils players were subjected to constant sticking offences resulted in Shannon Hope receiving a serious injury just below his eye. With the referee not calling any penalty, coach Kanewischer took his team off the ice in protest midway through the 2nd period. After a league investigation Cardiff were eventually fined £1000 for their actions and Kanewisher banned for the rest of the season.


Lawless and Cardiff shocked the whole of British Ice Hockey by signing 3 of the top players from the Premier Division over the summer. Canadian import Steve Moria was signed from the Fife Flyers, and then the Cooper brothers Ian and Steve joined from Heineken Champions Durham Wasps. It was the first time top British players were being offered good money to sign for other clubs and it led to claims that Cardiff and their "Cheque Book Hockey" would ruin the game. The signings were crucial as the Devils finished first 1st in Division 1, just a single point ahead of Medway Bears. They also retained the Autumn Trophy they had won the previous season, beating Medway 15–8 on aggregate.

To gain promotion though they had to beat the Premier Division's bottom club – the Streatham Redskins. Cardiff destroyed their Premier Division rivals 12–1 in the first leg, and a 9–5 victory in Streatham the following weekend secured an easy aggregate victory and a place in the Heineken Premier Division for the following season.


With the Devils finally reaching the promised land of the Premier Division, John Lawless was able to strengthen his team with the addition of an extra import now that he himself had received his British Passport. Paul Castron was signed but pulled out just before the start of the season, but fortunately for the club Doug McEwen had been released by Peterborough at the same time and so signed for the Devils instead. Victory in the pre-season Trafford Tournament gave an indication of the success to come, although the Devils did get knocked out of the Autumn Cup at the semi-final stage to Durham Wasps. In the league though they were unbeaten until December, by which time they had built up a healthy lead at the top of the table. A 14–7 victory at home to the Peterborough Pirate on 4 March 1990 clinched their first ever Premier Division League title. Unbeaten in the Playoffs Qualifying group, the Devils travelled to Wembley where they beat Fife Flyers 5–1 in the semi-final. In the final they faced the Murrayfield Racers who quickly went 3–0 up. Cardiff fought back though and a Steven Cooper goal 95 seconds from the end tied the game at 6–6 and sent the game into Overtime and then a Penalty Shootout. After Doug McEwen had scored the 23rd shot, Jeff Smith saved Tony Hand's attempt and the Devils had won the Playoff Championship in one of the greatest Finals of all time, live on BBC Grandstand.


After the previous years success, the British players were in great demand. Ian and Stephen Cooper both returned to Durham, whilst Brian Dickson and Robbie Morris also left. In came Derek King (Fife Flyers), Neil Browne (Slough Jets), Paul Heavey and Peter Smith (both Peterborough Pirates). Despite a record breaking Europa Cup tournament which included an 11–8 victory over Rodovre and a 3rd placed group finish, the team struggled for consistency domestically. Knocked out once again at the semi-final stage of the Autumn Cup by Durham Wasps, they finished second to the Wasps in the league and were knocked out in the Playoff Semi-finals by Peterborough Pirates as Durham completed the Grand Slam.

1997 – 07/08

In 1997 the club won the Superleague championship. Hardship followed and the club was declared bankrupt in 2001 but a new team was soon formed which competed in the British National League. The new owners massively reduced spending and effectively disbanded the old Cardiff Devils, with the entire Superleague team departing. The then-owner, Bob Phillips was the subject of much scorn amongst fans due to the perceived mismanagement and effective destruction of what was then one of Britain's most established and stable teams.

The new team was formed from a handful of quickly drafted players, as well scavenging the Cardiff Devils youth teams to make up the numbers under the lower budget. Attendances at games dropped heavily, going from full arenas to typically less than fifty. During the first two seasons under Phillips, large protests and demonstrations were commonplace outside games, with initially hundreds of supporters club members appearing outside the arena. While eventually the supporters club would reconcile with Bob Phillips and some of the old players would make goodwill appearances, the team's best years were clearly behind them.

In 2003, the Devils became founder members of the Elite League, finishing the first season in 5th place. They were semi-finalists in the end of season playoffs, losing to champions Sheffield Steelers.

During the 2004–05 NHL lock-out, Rob Davison of the San Jose Sharks played for the Devils.

The 2004–5 season did not finish well for the Devils. As in the 03–04 season, they reached the playoff semi-finals, but were once again defeated, this time by the Nottingham Panthers.

During 2005, serious questions over the future of the Devils began to emerge. The Wales National Ice Rink was due for demolition in 2006 to make way for a John Lewis store and plans for a new ice arena at Sophia Gardens were progressing at an extremely slow pace. There was a very real threat that 2005–06 could have been the last season of the Cardiff Devils.

The Save Our Rink Action Committee (SORAC) formed to lead calls from the city's ice hockey clubs and fans for a temporary facility to be constructed while a more permanent building was finally built. SORAC successfully campaigned for a temporary rink in the Cardiff Bay area of the city. Planning permission was given in January 2006 and the structure was expected to be completed in time for the 2006–07 ice hockey season.

However this proved not to be the case, with construction problems delaying the opening of the Cardiff Arena until December 2006.

The Devils won their first silverware of the EIHL era in 2006. The Devils faced arch rivals Coventry Blaze in a repeat of the previous year's Challenge Cup final but were beaten 3–0 in the first leg of the final in Coventry. The Devils however managed an incredible turn around in the second leg, defeating the Blaze 4–1 to tie the game on aggregate and won the cup 1–0 in the following penalty shoot-out. "Man of the Match" Nathan Rempel scored a memorable hat-trick, whilst Rejean Stringer scored the winning goal in the penalty shoot-out.

In January 2007 player-coach Ed Patterson was released by the Devils in a cost-cutting move. Patterson was replaced as player / coach by Gerad Adams, with Brad Voth taking over from Adams as captain.

After several games during which injured players carried out the duties of bench coach, former Devils player Brent Pope was appointed to the position. Despite off-ice difficulties throughout the 2006–07 season, the Devils finished 3rd in the league. The Devils also won the British Knockout Cup, beating rivals Coventry Blaze 3–0 at Coventry's Skydome. A cup double was snatched from the Cardiff Devils' grasp when they lost 1–0 on penalties to the Nottingham Panthers in the 2006–07 Playoff Final, after the game finished 1–1 after overtime.

The 2007–08 season saw the Devils finish the league in 6th place. After a string of losses at the beginning of the season, they rose to an unbeaten run of games which propelled them to the top of the Elite League. However this was soon ended as a huge injury crisis hit the club leading to many of the first team having to watch from the sidelines. The Devils managed to qualify for the playoff weekend by beating the Nottingham Panthers at the Trent FM Arena, and holding them to a 3–3 draw the following evening. The Devils were defeated at the playoff weekend by the eventual winners, the Sheffield Steelers, going down 2–1. The loss capped a disappointing season.

2008/09 season

The Devils season was mixed. The team struggled again with injuries and suspensions – notably the highly controversial 11-game suspension of club captain Brad Voth (which was cut to 7 on review). Two summer signings, defenceman Likit Andersson and forward Rod Hinks, were cut from the squad due to injury and performance respectively. Returning defenceman Tyson Teplitsky filled the gap left by Andersson and contributed greatly in points. Canadian Marc Fulton was drafted in to replace Hinks, however after a promising start, was sidelined by injury and did not play for the club again. Joining Fulton on the injury list were centre Lee Cowmeadow and then top scorer Mike Prpich.

On 26 January 2009, the Devils announced the signing of Matt Elich, a former NHL player with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Elich, brought in to replace the injured Derek Campbell, scored 1+1 in his debut game and continued to contribute points consistently.

The Devils, although eliminated from the Challenge Cup got through to the British Knockout Cup final, a trophy won during the 06–07 season, after demolishing a dwindling Basingstoke Bison squad 17–1 over two legs [8–0, 9–1]. They faced and eventually lost out to the Belfast Giants

Devils captain Brad Voth was given the honour of being named captain for the South team for the 'All-Star Spectacular'.

The Devils scraped through to the playoff semi-finals in Nottingham after beating the Belfast Giants with an overtime goal in the Cardiff Arena from Captain Brad Voth, ending the series 6–5.

The Devils then lost to the Sheffield Steelers 5–2 in the Playoff semi-finals. Sheffield went on to win the playoffs, defeating the Nottingham Panthers by 2–0 in the final, completing their league and playoff double.

2009/10 season

The Devils started their season fairly well with big imports such as Mark Smith and Max Birbraer returning and newly signed forward Tylor Michel becoming a fan favourite quickly.

The Devils buried their Challenge Cup voodoo from the new arena and progressed to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup for the first time in 3 years by beating the Coventry Blaze 3–2 on 28 October 2009

On 7 December 2009 it was announced that forward Ryan Finnerty, formerly of the rival Sheffield Steelers had signed for Cardiff. Shortly afterward, import defenceman Scott Romfo was released, with coach Gerad Adams citing salary costs as the main reason. This move left many fans feeling disappointed, due to Scott's impressive performance over the preceding weeks. Romfo surprisingly returned to the club on 12 January 2010, following the announcement that he was being resigned to the team to provide injury cover.

Cardiff Arena prior to the 2010 Challenge Cup Final first leg.

On 16 February 2010, leader Brad Voth was relieved of the captaincy, after over 3 years, by head coach Gerad Adams. The reason being that Coach Adams felt Voth was being unfairly targeted by officials because of the image he had built up over the years as a hard-hitting enforcer, and that by releasing him of his duties, he could re-focus on his game. Also, if Voth had been ejected from one more game as captain, he would face a lengthy ban. Therefore, by relinquishing the armband he could carry on playing the enforcer role. British Defenceman Mark Richardson was named new team captain in his place.

On 9 March 2010, the Devils lost 8–7 on aggregate in the final of the Challenge Cup to the Nottingham Panthers. The Devils in fact won the game 5–4 on the night but it was not enough to overturn the 4–2 loss suffered in the 1st leg in Cardiff the previous week.

The Devils defeated the reigning Playoff champions the Sheffield Steelers in the quarter-final match up over two nights. The first leg in Cardiff saw the Devils win 4–2. The following night in Sheffield saw the Devils win again 5–3, ending the series with an aggregate score of 9–5. On 3 April, the Devils defeated the newly crowned league champions Coventry Blaze in the playoff semi-final in Nottingham by 6 goals to 3 to advance to the final. Meanwhile, on the same day, the Belfast Giants defeated the Nottingham Panthers after a penalty shootout to also advance. The final was played in Nottingham on 4 April. Belfast and Cardiff were tied 2–2 after regulation time. A scoreless OT period meant the final would go to a penalty shootout. Evan Cheverie for the Belfast Giants shot past Stevie Lyle in the second round of penalties and won the playoff title for Belfast.

2010/2011 season

The Devils embarked on the season with an average start, with critics citing an underperforming defence. With enforcer Justin Sawyer leaving the club for personal reasons in October 2010, and with iconic power forward Brad Voth out with a hand injury, things were looking bleak. On 1 November, the club announced the signing of Sawyer's replacement, ex-NHL defenceman Craig Weller. With Weller on board and Voth back in the line-up, the club embarked on a record breaking winning streak, which ended after a penalty shootout loss in Dundee on 16 January. The club did not lose a game between 28 October 2010 and 16 January 2011. On 9 January, the Devils went to the top of the Elite Ice Hockey League table with a 7–1 home win over Dundee Stars. The victory also saw first line winger Jon Pelle beat the league record for goals in a season (35), previously held by former Devils player Mike Prpich. As of 15 January 2011, the club now hold the UK record for games unbeaten in all competitions (22) and most consecutive league games unbeaten (21). The Devils management have had discussions with the IIHF and Guinness World Records who have verified that this is in fact a World Record.

Andrew Lord era, 2014–2020

Following the takeover of the club in the summer of 2014 and the arrival of Todd Kelman as General Manager, forward Andrew Lord was named player-coach of the Devils a year after he first joined the club.[3][4][5] Lord led the club to the 2015 Challenge Cup title in his first season as a coach.[6]

Further success followed with the club's first league title in 20 years secured at the end of the 2016-17 EIHL season, alongside another Challenge Cup title - while the team finished runners-up in the Elite League play-offs after losing the final to the Sheffield Steelers in 2017.[7][8][9]

In the 2017–18 EIHL season, Cardiff won both the league and play-offs double - before Lord dropped the player-coach title in 2018 and adopted the sole title as head coach.[10][11][12]

The following season, 2018–19, the Devils missed out on the league title to Belfast Giants after a final day defeat to Coventry Blaze but made amends by winning the 2019 play-off title.[13][14]

What proved to be Lord's final season as coach was brought prematurely to a halt when the 2019–20 EIHL season was curtailed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[15]

Cardiff were top of the table at the time of the cancellation and were runners-up in the 2020 Challenge Cup final, losing to Sheffield Steelers, although the scheduled play-offs were cancelled.[16]

Lord departed the Devils in June 2020 to take up the head coach role at ECHL side Greenville Swamp Rabbits.[17][18] In all, Lord won nine total titles, including two Elite League titles, two play-off championships and two Challenge Cups during his time in Cardiff, leaving as the Devils' most successful ever coach.

Life after Lord

Cardiff initially delayed the announcement of Lord's successor as head coach and, on 15 September 2020, the Elite League confirmed the suspension of the 2020–21 season due to ongoing uncertainty over coronavirus and its restrictions. The EIHL board unanimously determined that social distancing guidelines and having no fans in attendance at games made the season non-viable. The season was later cancelled completely in February 2021.[19][20]

Cardiff also withdrew from the 2020–21 Champions Hockey League.[21] Incidentally, the entire 2020-21 Champions Hockey League campaign was later cancelled.[22]

On 22 September 2020 the Cardiff Devils announced the appointment of Jarrod Skalde as the club's new head coach and Director of Hockey Operations. Skalde arrived after spending the last two seasons as assistant coach with AHL side Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.[23]

Current squad

Squad for 2021-22 Elite League season [24][25]

No. Player Catches Acquired Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
30 Mac Carruth L 2021 Salt Lake City, Utah, USA Lausitzer Füchse, DEL2
No. Player Shoots Acquired Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
4 Mark Louis R 2021 Ponoka, Alberta, Canada HK Dukla Michalovce, Slovak Extraliga
6 Brendan Mikkelson L 2021 Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada Modo Hockey, HockeyAllsvenskan
17 Mark Richardson R 2021 Swindon, England EC Bad Nauheim, DEL2
41 Josh Batch L 2021 Chelmsford, England Manchester Storm, EIHL
43 Matthew Register L 2021 Calgary, Alberta, Canada Allen Americans, ECHL
No. Player Position Acquired Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
5 Ben Davies C/RW 2021 Cardiff, Wales Manchester Storm, EIHL
11 Stephen Dixon C/LW 2018 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Grizzlys Wolfsburg, DEL
13 Joshua Lammon C 2021 Jackson, Michigan, USA Allen Americans, ECHL
16 Sam Duggan C/RW 2021 Reading, England Coventry Blaze, EIHL
63 Trevor Cox C/LW 2021 Surrey, British Columbia, Canada HC 07 Detva, Slovak Extraliga
74 Brandon McNally LW/RW 2021 Saugus, Massachusetts, USA Karlskrona HK, Hockeyettan
91 Joshua Waller LW 2021 Reading, England Sheffield Steelers, EIHL
96 Cole Sanford RW/C 2021 Vernon, British Columbia, Canada Florida Everblades, ECHL
TBC Justin Crandall RW 2021 Lakeville, Minnesota, USA IF Björklöven, HockeyAllsvenskan
On Loan
No. Player Position Acquired Place of Birth Playing For Press Release
Team Staff
No. Name Position Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
N/A Jarrod Skalde Head coach / Director of Hockey Operations Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, AHL
N/A Todd Kelman General Manager Calgary, Alberta, Canada Belfast Giants, EIHL
N/A Daniel Brabon Goaltending coach Caerphilly, Wales Appointed in 2013
N/A Dan Forbes Conditioning coach Swansea, Wales Appointed in 2016
Recent departures
No. Player Position Acquired Leaving For Press Release

Retired numbers

Honours and awards

League Championships

  • 1989–90, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1996–97, 2016–17, 2017–18

Play-off Championships

  • 1989–90, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1998–99, 2017–18, 2018–19

Autumn Cups

  • 1993–94
Challenge Cup Final at The Viola Arena. The players of the Cardiff Devils and the Sheffield Steelers line up for the national anthems at the start of the 2016–17 Challenge Cup Final. The Devils won 3–2

Challenge Cups

  • 2005–06, 2014–15, 2016–17

British Knockout Cups

  • 2006–07

First Team All-Stars

Second Team All-Stars


  1. "Arena Confirm New 5-year Naming Rights Partnership With Viola". Cardiff Devils.
  2. "Elite League play-off final: Cardiff Devils beat Belfast Giants 2–1". 14 April 2019 via
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  24. "Cardiff Devils at". Retrieved 15 June 2020.