Ice Hockey: Dampier departs Panthers

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The Independent Online
ALEX DAMPIER, the Great Britain coach, remarked on his return recently from a successful international trip that he needed equal success with his club, Nottingham Panthers, who have had a disastrous start to the season.

The club agreed, and by the end of Sunday's Heineken premier division game, at Whitley, it emerged the two had parted company, apparently by 'mutual consent'. Dampier's last game in charge brought the Panthers' first win at Whitley Warriors for three years, by the impressive margin of 10-6. He is negotiating with Sheffield Steelers in the First Division to take over as coach.

A tight opening period saw the Panthers go 2-1 up but they were 6-2 ahead by half-time, with three goals from Paul Adey, and never looked like losing.

But if Panthers have problems Durham Wasps seem to be buzzing with them. Not that they are likely to get rid of their coach Paul Smith - his father owns the club. On Saturday they lost to a Murrayfield Racers side who had won only one of their 18 League games at Wasps. The visitors lost Canadian defender Mike Ware in the first minute thanks to a cross-check from behind on Wasps' Chris Norton, an offence that leads to automatic dismissal. Undeterred, Racers took the game to Durham.

Leading 8-6 with 15 minutes left Racers allowed Damian Smith to score two in a minute to level the game but with nine minutes left, John Newberry put the Scots ahead with what turned out to be the winning goal.

The following day Cardiff Devils stayed at the top of the table, beating Durham 7-4 and the north-east side, so used to being in the top three at Christmas, are now in the unfamiliar position of being second bottom of the Premier Division.

HEINEKEN Premier Division Saturday: Billingham 8, Nottingham 8; Durham 8, Murrayfield 9; Fife 6, Bracknell 5; Peterborough 7, Whitley 3. First Division: Basingstoke 11, Swindon 4; Milton Keynes 20, Lee Valley 2; Sheffield 10, Romford 6; Telford 8, Medway 4. Sunday Premier Division: Cardiff 7, Durham 4; Murrayfield 11, Bracknell 5; Peterborough 4, Humberside 6; Whitley 6, Nottingham 10. First Division: Medway 13, Lee Valley 4; Romford 5, Swindon 7; Slough 6, Basingstoke 10.