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Behind the Bench with Neil Francis

Sports & Recreation Podcasts

Ever wondered what really happened in those big moments in Cardiff Devils history, both on and off the ice? Ever wonder if that Rumor you read on the forum was actually true? Every Episode Gareth Huish and John Donovan will sit down with Neil Francis, a man who has done it all as Cardiff Devils coach, be it as a player, Coach or ambassador. Find out the real stories behind your favorite Cardiff Devils players, Games, moments. This is Behind the Bench with Neil Francis.


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Ever wondered what really happened in those big moments in Cardiff Devils history, both on and off the ice? Ever wonder if that Rumor you read on the forum was actually true? Every Episode Gareth Huish and John Donovan will sit down with Neil Francis, a man who has done it all as Cardiff Devils coach, be it as a player, Coach or ambassador. Find out the real stories behind your favorite Cardiff Devils players, Games, moments. This is Behind the Bench with Neil Francis.






Behind the Bench Episode 23 - Part 2 - The Definitive Great Devils team of all time - first decade EIHL and New Era

The Votes are in, the people have spoken, and we have our Cardiff Devils Greatest Team of all time. We asked the fans to vote for their starting line from 4 Devils eras, and now the final votes are in, its time here on Behind the Bench to delve into the careers of the winners and explain what makes them great. This episode will cover the First 10 years of the EIHL era, and the New Era under the Canadian Consortium. In this Episode: - JD talks Voth's omission from his team - all things G and Franny - some Andrew Lord Secrets. And so so much more.


Behind the bench Episode 23 Part 1 - The Definitive Great Devils team of all time -- First Decade and Super league

The Votes are in, the people have spoken, and we have our Cardiff Devils Greatest Team of all time. We asked the fans to vote for thier starting line from 4 Devils eras, and now the final votes are in, its time here on Behind the Bench to delve into the careers of the winners and explain what makes them great. This episode we will be looking at the First decade of Devils hockey and the Super league years! In this Episode: - we find out who was responsible for the nickname Franny - we meet the new Lemiuex and Gretzky - John Tells us delves into Stephen coopers worst moments. - its just general celebration of all good things Devils.


Behind the Bench Episode 22 - The Greatest Devils team of all time

WE ARE NAMING THE 'ALL TIME' GREATEST CARDIFF DEVILS TEAM AND WE NEED YOUR HELP. The 2020-21 season that never happened would have been our 35th Anniversary season, which means the 2021-22 season IS OUR 35th ANNIVERSARY SEASON. To celebrate our first 35 years, we are naming the “All-Time Devils Team” but we are doing it era by era. Keep reading, and try to follow along as we explain the way we are going to do this. You can vote for 6 players (1 goalie, 2 defenceman, 3 forwards) from each of these eras: The first decade – 1986-87 to 1995-96 The Superleague – 1996-97 to 2002-03 The EIHL first decade – 2003-04 to 2013-14 The EIHL new era – 2014-15 to present To be selected to the all-time team, a player must meet both of the following qualifications: 1) He must have played for the Devils for at least 3 seasons; 2) He must have won at least one major title as a Devil or been on the world record setting team from 2010-11 season. Each era will have 1 goalie, 2 defenceman and 3 forwards selected. So the All-time Devils team will be 4 goalies, 8 defenceman, 12 forwards. We will also name 2 coaches to the All-time Devils team. The Nominees will be announced during this episode, so listen now to see if your favourite has made the Final cut!


Behind the Bench Episode 21 - No Filler with Killer

Whether you have sat in the Bar to listen to a Q&A or watched one of his many interviews on the Cardiff Devils YouTube Channel, one thing is for sure, Todd Kelman is a man who loves to spin a yarn. And todays episode is no different, other than, we take Todd away from Cardiff, learning about his upbringing in Hockey, His time at College and his journey and stay in the UK Hockey Scene In this Episode: - The Story behind Frank King and the Calgary Olympics - Getting A Zamboni home - Haunted Houses in Bracknell - Becoming Team mates with a Stanley Cup champion. And a whole whole lot more on Behind the Bench with Neil Francis.


Behind the Bench Episode 20 - Chirping with Vez

Hot off the Heels of the glorious return of the podcast, we have a bonafide Devils Legend sitting behind the bench with us today, the one and only Vezio Sacratini. Vez as he was affectionately known is one of British Ice Hockey's most recognisable figures, making Cardiff his home for over a decade Vez tells us his journey before arriving, and his unique tale about how he came to stay in the Welsh Capital. In this episode! - How an Italian household runs itself in Canada - Being an Olympian - In the land of the Giants in Cardiff - Will One Punch identity be revealed? All this and whole lot more on Behind the Bench!


Episode 19 - Conversations with the Coach - The Jarrod Skalde Adventure

We are back! and we mean business. Behind the Bench with Neil Francis continues are open door to guests for them to step behind the bench and tell their stories. And what a set of stories we have, from the newly installed Cardiff Devils coach Jarrod Skalde. Skalds has played for some of the most famous NHL teams and had one of the most unique hockey journeys, and he doesnt hold back in telling his tale. In this episode - Tales of Eric Lindros - What really happened the weekend Skalde was drafted - How do you navigate being claimed on Waivers 5 times in 5 months, with a pregnant wife? Skalde will show you how - And New Team member on board! Welcome to Producer Hubbs. All this and so much more on Behind the Bench with Neil Francis.


Behind the Bench Episode 18 - 'A horrible group of Men' the 14/15 Challenge cup winners

In a week where Andrew Lord announced he will be leaving the Cardiff Devils, we talk to him and his team that started it all for the Devils New Era as we go back to re live the victory of the 2014-2015 Challenge cup winning team. Bringing together almost the entire roster from Captain Tyson Marsh to Devils Legend Jake Morrissette to Devils GM Todd Kelman we re live how the roster came together, the journey through the Challenge Cup to the victorious win at the final. In this episode - Big Blue Tent Memories - Hotel Bills - Todd Kelmans sheffield arena ban. - Carl Hudsons fake thumb And so so much more.


Behind the Bench Episode 17 - The Rise and Rise of Joey Haddad

It's a Behind the Bench first as we sit down with current Devil Joey Haddad. We go through Joey's Junior and Pro career to find out the story about what made the player you see today on the Ice at the Viola arena, the set backs and triumphs and of course the stories! In this episode: - The Haddad - Culligan Connection - Joey's first encounter playing with Andrew Lord in north America - Brent Walton vs a Table - Joey's first trip to the BBT and so so much more.


Behind the Bench Episode 16 - The class of 89/90

If you've started following the Devils since Day 1, or you have only recently stepped foot in the Viola Arena, there is a fair chance you have heard of the 1990 playoff final. Transcending hockey, this final went all the way to penalty shots, pushing back the Snooker coverage on BBC as an entire nation was glued to its television, to see who would come out victirious, would it be Murrayfield led by the best British player of his generation in Tony Hand? Or would the Cardiff Devils do the impossible and win the playoffs to go along with their League title in their very first year of being promoted to the top divsion. In the paraphrased immortal words of Barry Davis - You don't need me to tell you, the Cardiff Devils were victorious. This episode covers the story of that win, from the men who were there. You will hear from: Jeff Smith Jason wood John burnicle Stephen Cooper Shannon hope Archie nelson Nicky Chinn Ian Cooper Paul farmer John lawless Doug McEwen Steve Moria Robbie Morris Brian Wilkie Brian Kanewischer As they relive one of the greatest moments in Cardiff Devils history. you won't want to miss this one. This podcast is sponsored by the Ice Hockey players Benevolent fund, a charitible organisation that looks to give financial relief to any player, coach or official who is unable to earn a living due to illness or injury. There's a raffle currently running to win a Patrick Kane Signed Jersey, all of the details and to buy your tickets, please go to:


Behind the Bench Episode 15 - Wally in Cardiff

Part 1 of our Brent Walton Episode was record breaking, the highest listened to show we have put out yet, and guess what? we have even more for you! This part is all about Walton in Cardiff, we go through all of his favorite Cardiff Stories, and finish where we started at Walton In this Episode: Wally vs Steeler Dan The story of the talk between Todd and Brent about retirement. The full story of how he came to be shirtless in the standing section. his favorite pre game talks. and lots lots more


Behind the Bench Episode 15 - Here's Wally!

Fresh off the Heels of our fantastic first guest, we invite another colorful character from Devils history to join us behind the bench, this week it is Brent Walton! Brent Joined us from his home in Canada for our very first live video chat, and as you can imagine, had a tonne of great stories and memories from his playing career. In this first part: - Getting up close and personal with Chris Frank - Fat camp with Bible Frans - Gooning it up in the AHL. -And...... An Erotic Photo shoot...... All this and so much more in this awesome first part. Get listening and downloading now!


Behind The Bench Episode 14 - The Birbraer Odyssey - Part 2

So we come to the next exciting chapter of our Birbraer Odyssey, after learning all about Max unique journey to Pro hockey in North America we now turn attention to the life and times in Cardiff. all of the ups and downs of life in a Devils shirt, giving us the low down on Team mates, crucial matches and his personal life away from the rink. In this Episode!..... - When did Max learn he had no rink to play out of when he first arrived in Cardiff? - Why didn't Mark Smith light up the league the second time around? - Memories of the Record Breakers. And so so much more. We hope this Episode brings you a little bit of a distraction and some smiles while we stay indoors right now. Most of all, we hope all of our listeners are currently staying safe. We hope to see you all soon.


Behind The Bench Episode 14 - The Birbraer Odyssey - Part 1

Very few players have had the impact on the Cardiff Devils that Max Birbraer had, from scoring goals, making hits, and being one of the most popular team mates and fan favorites of all time, his legacy will live on through all of Devils history. We were lucky enough to sit down with Max and in this first part, we will learn all about the truly unique story about how a young Kid from Khazakstan ended up getting drafted to the NHL. In this episode: - How to get an Israeli passport in the 1990's - language barriers in Junior hockey - Army Jail with a spiritual intervention (it may have been one punch we aren't sure yet) - Life with Mike Danton And a whole lot more!


Behind the Bench Episode 13 - Part 2 - Forwards

So we come to the end of our deliberation for the Cardiff Devils team of the decade, and it is the turn of the forwards. The guys all throw in their ideas and then decide who makes the prestigious final Line! Also in this episode - Max talk - Chris Blight right place wrong time? - and we definitely definitely don't pick an entire second line because we felt guilty about leaving players out......


Behind the Bench Episode 13 part 1 - Line of the Decade (goalies and D Men)

The Cardiff Devil have been blessed with some fantastic players in the last decade (and Franny signed most of them!) but with only 5 spots open, the guys who is going to make the Cut? we start with the guys who look after the House, the Goaltenders and the D men, who will Franny, Gaz and John choose? also in this episode! - JD spills the beans about Hothams Hatred - Gaz can't remember the guy from Coventry! - and we even sneak some current season chatter in there! Who are your Goalie and D men of the decade? tell us on Twitter via @Btbfranny


Behind the Bench Episode 12 - Christmas Cheer

It's been a whole year of podcasts from Gaz, John and Franny, a year full of laughs and stories and memories. so the guys got together to just have a chat about the past year, and some topics that they wouldn't ordinarily get to talk about. Some of the things to look forward to in this episode: - John Donovan Bingo is completed in record time - We discuss who was the best draftee, Hand or Kirk? - Franny's Face Time addiction. - Where did the idea come from for Wally night? - and what is the structure of a hockey player at Christmas time? This and a whole lot more. Thank you so much for your support of the podcast over the past 12 months, here's to many more episodes to come.


Behind the Bench Episode 11 - Rowe-ling back the years

With John Donovan unfortunately able to Join the episode this week, a search was on for a replacement, who better to step in than one of the Best Cyclists in the world and HUGE (Credit: Aled Lloyd) Cardiff Devils Fan Luke Rowe! Luke talks about how he has found the Devils and when his first game was, his fondest memories of the Big Blue Tent, some of his favorite players, and just some damn fine general hockey chat. In this Episode! - Luke Rowe owes the Devils money - Find out why! - Luke Talks up why the Big Blue Tent is one of his most favorite ever sporting venue! - We uncover Streatham Redskins and Fife Flyers legend Vincent Lukac! - And we take a tour around Luke Rowe's hockey man cave. - And listeners it's over to you, just who's stick does Luke have? We need to find the owner of this mystery piece of hockey memorabilia. So what are you waiting for? Get listening to one of the best sportsman in the world, talk about one of the best sports in the world. P.S the title of this episode was all Neil Francis idea!


Behind the Bench Episode 10 - Part 2 - The Superleague year

In this episode we breakdown the run down of the inaugural Superleague title race that the Devils would eventually win (spoiler!) along the way of course, there are some diversions! mainly silly stories, so in this episode you can expect - WNIR Stock check - The Japanese hockey sensation 'Cannonball' - Paul Heavey vs a Bin -Bob Phillips serial blinder.... and many many more. Give us a listen!


Behind the Bench Episode 10 - Part 1 - The Superleague year

British Ice Hockey went through it's biggest ever change in the summer of 1996, 8 clubs broke away from the British Ice Hockey Association to form the Superleague, a new league that had an unlimited cap on Imports and Expenditure. It heralded the highest level of hockey Britain had ever seen, and the Cardiff Devils and the Sheffield Steelers went head to head to try and win it. In Part 1: - Franny talks about his adventure to Graz - We give the background on the 8 clubs who broke away - Scott Dobben takes us off his Christmas Card list - and we find out who scored the second ever Superleague goal.


Behind the Bench Episode 9 part 2 - Pre season special

We roll into part 2 of the pre season special and we are looking at things a bit closer to home..... Relive the madness that was Andrew Conboy's debut..... as Gaz, John and Franny take you back through some of the most memorable Pre season incidents. In this Episode: - What happens when a game ends with a Devils player headbutting an opponent and that's not even the most weird thing to happen? - What film does John deem appropriate to show a bunch of hockey players from Denmark on a bus trip from Heathrow? - Deeds, Danton and the birth of Twitter in the EIHL. - Coventry pre season Memories - and what on earth are Sneaky Saturdays? and a whole lot more! Download and Subscribe now!