Last night I went to watch Streatham Ice Hockey Club play Oxford City Stars. Considering that I may burden Streatham IHC with my ongoing support they could have tried harder. I’d booked online, so they knew I was coming, and they still lost 7-0. After the sixth goal went in they tried a new tactic (see picture). This involved using two goalkeepers and turning the goal round by 90 degrees. As you can see the umpire rumbled their little game and threatened to take his puck home with him if they didn’t start playing properly.

Streatham IHC used to be called ‘Streatham Redskins’. This was until last year when they decided the name was offensive to Streatham’s large population of Native American Indians. Streatham has always been famous for them and they live in a reservation on Streatham Common. Unfortunately life has got harder for them recently as the aggressive grey squirrels have forced out the indigenous herds of bison. Another blow for them was losing their Chief, ‘Dances With Buses’. He’s now gone to the happy hunting ground in the sky after being flattened by a 118.

So the hockey club is now called Streatham IHC and they’ve kept some link with the past by adopting a 1920’s style logo on their shirts.

Ice Hockey in the UK is enjoyable, however it does lack the fisticuffs of its American counterpart the NHL, where fighting is actively encouraged. In the US the umpire only interrupts the festivities when either one combatant is unconscious or a limb has been totally severed. A rule change last year now allows players to carry weapons too, although they draw the line at anything chemical or nuclear.

The last time I watched ice hockey in Streatham was around twenty years ago in the old art-deco ice rink, which was demolished in 2011 after 80 years. They now play in a very posh new leisure complex, which seems to have done the trick as there was a queue to get in.  Last time I think I was the only one there.

Interestingly they found a buried time capsule when they demolished the old building. It contained omnibus tickets, local papers, an ivory dildo and the remains of several Native American Indians. They regretted digging it up because the new ice rink has been infested with a malevolent poltergeist ever since. It throws random objects around at great speed. These days it appears to be mostly ice hockey pucks into the back of Streatham’s goal.

To try and appease the spirits, Lambeth Council buried a new time capsule containing DVDs, photos and the mayor. There is a plaque outside the ice rink to mark this event. One of the names on the plaque is Councillor Lib Peck, which is nearly an anagram of pickle. Another councillor involved was Florence Nosegbe, which is nearly an anagram of nosebag.

Apart from near anagrammatic-food related councillors, Streatham has a rich tapestry of other colourful characters in its history. It was home to Cynthia Payne’s brothel, Aleister Crowley (dubbed the most evil man in Britain) went to school there and Nurse Gladys Emmanuel from ‘Open All Hours’ still lives in Streatham.

I might move there, it sounds fun.

Note: Streatham Redskins/IHC are no relation to Washington Redskins (an American football team), who are also facing harsh criticism regarding their name. The city of Washington DC, being very aware of cultural sensitivities, have decided to follow Streatham’s three letter suffix approach. They also want to keep a nostalgic link to the 1920’s by commemorating a famous march they allowed to take place there in 1925, as well as tying in two potential new sponsors Krispy Kreme and Kelloggs. The city’s branding agency expect to make an announcement soon.

For my other guides to the UK click here.