Demons

A brief History of the

The Demons Ice Hockey Club Inc. has a long and rich history in Victorian Ice Hockey.

Evolving from the post war training sessions at St. Moritz [in 1945] and forming as `Eastern Suburbs` in 1946, re-naming as the Eastern Demons Ice Hockey Club in 1947, then morphing to the Demons Ice Hockey Club in 1948, incorporating in 1986 remaining as the longest member club in the history of Ice Hockey Victoria {IHV} Previously named VAIHA & VIHA.

In the early years the Demons were not the most successful club, taking until 1970 to win our first Senior- A grade Premiership.  Our B-Grade triumphs in 1961 & 1963 our only successes.

During the early years we had a number of good players, our first named Club Legend in Russell Jones, who along with Noel McLoughlin, represented Australia at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley USA and 1963 World Championships in Japan. Some other notable players from those early times are people like Brian & Graham Jose, James & Kevin Brett, Alan Coleman, Kevin Gronow, Paddy King, Johnny Neale and a young Alan Currie.

Noel McLoughlin, our star Goal Keeper, became the first player to win the A-Grade Presidents Medal twice, in the years 1959 & 1961. Russell Jones, also a President`s Medal winner in 1955, coached the Demons over a period of 14 years, 1948-1950, 1954-1957 & 1959-1965.

Through the late 1950`s to early 1970`s the Demons tasted some finals action, overcoming the Blackhawks or the Monarchs at finals time always seemed to be our Achilles heel.

Around this period we had some tremendously loyal and long serving players and administrators,

people such as Laurie Luxmore, Kerry Timmins, Richard Scarffe, Richard Sprague, Graeme Bowes,

Gary Hood, Peter & Edward Devitt, Peter Pinsent, Mario Doricic, Neil Hamer, Ron Drury, Billy Buck, Rod Fernald and Barry Muir.

In 1967 the committee enticed one James Christie from the Blackhawks to be our new senior coach,

This changed the face of the club. With a stronger training regimen and the introduction of a handful

of younger players the Demons A-Grade started to become a team to be reckoned with.

At this time James Christie not only coached, he also was by far the best player of his time, having been Four times Highest Point Scorer & Four times MVP for the Demons. He also was the first player to win the A-Grade Presidents Medal three times, in 1968, 1969 & 1970, capping a great stint at the Demons with the 1970 Premiership, our first.

Sadly with the loss of James Christie to the Pirates in 1972 and the retirement of some wonderfully long serving and talented players, we had a massive decline in game day performances over the next four or so years.

Not until 1976 with the appointments of Alan Price as President, Otto Wolf as Secretary and the incomparable Ian Holmes as Coach did we taste major success again. The 1977 season saw the inclusion of some remarkable import players like Fred Denischuk, Ken Guyzk, Mike Pierce, Ian Cameron, Daniel McIvor and probably the best credentialed player to ever play with the Demons in Mike Boland.  We unfortunately did not make the most of this talent by only winning the 1977 A-Grade Premiership during the few years these players served the club!!

The Demons did however have two great clubmen of this time in Kerry Timmins, 1964-1983, to this time the longest serving player in the Demons history and Paul `Jaffa` Watson a strong defensive player 1969-73, 1977-78 and as a well respected Junior coach through the 1980`s, 90`s and 00`s, he then went on to coach Melbourne Ice for 9 years culminating in 3 Goodall Cup wins in 2010, 2011 & 2012.  Kerry and Paul both played in our first two A-Grade Premierships of 1970 & 1977.

The seasons of 1977 to 1986, the A & B teams had some ups and downs, making the finals one year then missing the next, without achieving the ultimate prize. Socially the club was at its strongest, enjoying a great line of social secretaries, who managed to provide the funds for the Demons to always move forward, with some of the after game functions, technical evenings and presentation nights among events to be remembered. Those devoted individuals included people such as Kerry Timmins, William `Bill` Jones, Neil `Binji` Craven, Paul Rice and Brian Muir, with Otto Wolf the ever present Secretary.

The late eighties -early nineties started to provide the club with some quite talented players developed from our Junior ranks, as well as some handy imports. Juniors of the ilk of Jason Vandersluys, Daniel Gunn, Joshua Rowe, Ross Howell, Jon Moses and Anthony Peterson [the second youngest A-Grade Captain after Russell Jones] together with Imports like Dave Hearty, Kevin Dolighan, Brad Kelly, Darrell Heikkila and Garry Miller to name a few. From 1986 to 1992 the B-Grade played in every Grand final winning in 1987 & 1988, the A-Grade finished Runners-Up in 1989.

During the period of 1977 to 1993 there were a number of player who played for many years while also administering the Clubs affairs, some of those being William Stewart, Paul Rice, Neil Craven, Michael Smits Snr, Paul Raphael, Kevin Hunter, David Kirby, Doug Dow and Jon Moses to name a few.

After a couple of fairly flat years in the early nineties, the Demons saw fit to re-appoint Rod Johns as Senior coach in 1993, this was to last for 14 years with Rod also later becoming, not only the Demons President but also assuming the same role with Ice Hockey Victoria and towards the end of this tenure coaching Melbourne Ice in its formative years.

This was certainly a much more fruitful time for Rod and the Demons, his first stint in 1986          ended in tears. The Demons became a force winning Six A-Grade Premierships in seven years.                        Our B-Grade also won Ten Premierships in Sixteen years, 1998-2001, 2004-05, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013. The run of five A-Grade Premierships, 1997 to 2001, are equalled only the Monarch/Saints 1986-1994.

Most of this sustained success was due to the tireless work of some wonderful administrators, from the late eighties onwards, such as Ken Gunn [6 years as President], Paul Raphael [4 years as President & 14 years as Secretary], Rod Johns [9 years as President] and some dedicated support staff, many of whom were parents of our junior players during this time.

Over the last decade and a half, the most successful period in the Demons history, some of our notable and long serving players have been Michael Smits Snr, Evan White, Bruce McGurty, Rick Skrzelinski, Carl Fevola , Luke Burgess, Matthew Fairbanks, Daniel Gunn,  Martin Bauer, Travers Smith, Don Lord, Gordie Stewart, Rod Johns, Paul Rice and the entire Howell family.

Some of the junior players to progress to Senior level and distinguished careers during this period of our history are Dylan Moore, Cam McKay, Michael Smits Jnr, Stuart Higgins, Grove Bennett Jnr, Joshua Rowe and two past A-Grade Captains in Lachlan Craven and Jay Pavey with some handy support from various imports, like Garry Miller, Greg Sturrock, Mike Lund, Jamie Edwards, Thomas Yawney, Shaun Van Beseleare to mention just a small group.

The late 2000`s are following a pattern similar to that of the early seventies, coming of a great era, we are in a re-building faze at this time in our history, after the retirements of some of this very successful group of Coaches  & Players from the 1997-2007 Snr A & B Premiership teams.  For the period 2007-2009 the club coach in Simon Holmes appears to be a chip of the old block, following in his father Ian`s foot- steps, in re establishing the Demons as a force within Victorian Ice Hockey.

A mention must also be made of the untimely passing of some of our members.

The earliest tragedy to strike us was the death of Alan Currie in a car accident with his mother in late 1955. The unfortunate passing of a great clubman in Alan Coleman at a preseason training at the Oakleigh Ice Rink in early 1975 from a sudden heart attack .The death of James Brett while still playing hockey in his 60`s, Ian Holmes still breathing fire to the end, Ken Gunn`s passing in 2005, Otto Wolf`s sudden departure while still active with Ice Hockey Victoria, Carl Fevola after a long battle with illness, the tragic demise just in recent weeks of a promising talent in Brenton Phillip, sadly in another car accident. RIP.   {Written 2009} {Updated 2017}

The last year or so has not been a good one, with the unfortunate passing of Russell Jones in September of 2012, after a long battle with illness, the sudden death of Mick Howell in March 2013. The loss of Richard Moore from a sudden heat attack, in July 2013 and recently William Buck from cancer in 2014.

2009 onwards has been an amazing internal battle, with the unhappy forced merger with the Jets to play as the Rangers MKII {2009-2011} due to lack of player numbers. We did however achieve success in being a strong part of winning the Premiership in 2009 and 2011, with some of our more talented players playing a significant role in this success.

2011 saw some incredible work from the committee, attacking all issues from every point on the compass, structure, playing numbers, financials, committee, coaches etc.

Lead by Doug Dow, forced by the drive of Rick Skrzelinski, tempered and articulated by Evan White & Gordon Stewart then passionately written and edited by Paul Rice & Bruce McGurty we made many submissions to IHV who finally saw  the light to give us back our own Premier-A side for 2012.

Our starting point was to secure a well-credentialed Premier-A coach, one Mark “Chuck” Connolly, who has instilled in the playing group a work ethic second to none.  Although we anticipated some on-ice pain, we have re-established a strong base of a new batch of some young enthusiastic and experienced players, led by our Andrew Erzen along with Todd Cutter, Tom Voller, Russel & Kevin Dow, Joshua Skrzelinski, mature players in Lachie Craven, Stuart Higgins and Dane Stokes, the return of Ross Howell and our newer imports in Graham Charbonneau {2012}, Trevor Florey and Nick Schickler {2013}, plus our latest Club Legend Jon Moses, we anticipate a return to power in the near future.   

2014 has seen a new era emerge with the recruitment of imports Michael David & James Cross {2014}, Jeff Davie {2015} the return of Mark Howell {2014}, young guns in Byron Tschuma, Matt Harper and another Jones in Mitch the grandson of Club Legend Russell, plus added to this the appointment of Douglas Stevenson as Head Coach. Douglas has an extensive playing career in IHV as well as overseas. A four-time IHV Presidents Medal winner and numerous times playing for both Victoria and Australia. Immediate success was had in 2014 with our 11th Kleiner Trophy, followed by a further Grand Final appearance in 2016.

Early 2018 saw another change with Douglas stepping away as coach and Rick Skrzelinski running the bench for the remainder of the season.

Footnote:  2012 saw the retirement of Paul Rice after 36 years {31 as a player} with the Demons, but he will remain with the club as Secretary through the 2013 season.        {Written Oct. 2012}

This retirement was short lived as a comeback ensued following his heart surgery in Dec 2012 to maintain fitness and health. He played the year in Premier C2.    {Written Sept. 2013}

The Premier Reserve team continues to defy age and at times ability to get the job done!!  With an infusion of some young talent, 2012 saw another Premiership after an indifferent home and away season, winning not only the first J.P. Oliphant trophy for Rod Johns as coach after numerous attempts, they also took home their 11th title from 24 attempts in the last 27 seasons. Just outstanding!!!

This same scenario was then repeated in 2013, for a 12th title from 25 attempts in 28 years!!!

2014-2018 saw the B-Grade generally underperform, Runners-Up in 2015, they then missed the Grand Final three years running 2016-2018, this occurred for the first time since way back in

1983-1985.

Premier-C Hockey which is establishing a strong foothold, has had mixed successes.

Premier-C1 / C-Grade, which started in 1994, won Tile number 4 in 2011 with some old heads at

the helm.

After several indifferent years has re-emerged to win their 5th & 6th titles in 2018 & 2019, under Joseph Nyamuka as Coach, with both a younger and more experienced group of talented players at his disposal, creating this resent success.

The Premier C2 divisional teams have won eight titles firstly in 2011 as Rec Devils Div.II and then as Demons in Premier-C2, now D-Grade Division, in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 winning 8 of a possible 10 titles in this division. Adding to our ever-growing Premiership history.

2018 saw the club elect its first ever female President in Shae Ganac, she has been joined by our newer generation of administrators, with the likes of David Brand now in his 7th year as Club Secretary, Michael Bailey as SnrVP and David Dang, all products from the RecC hockey expansion of 2010-2011.

At the end of 2018 saw the retirement from Winter hockey of several significant figures within the Demons organisation. With the formation of the `Demons Old-Farts` Summer Conference Division team, instigated by Doug Dow, he was then joined in retirement by Paul Rice & Rick Skrzelinski. Coupled with some other experienced heads in Geoff Bell, Don Lord, Bruce McGurty, Travers Smith & Evan White the team is being coached by Gordon Stewart {2018-2019 season}

The pedigree and credentials of this team consists of the following, 3 `Club Legends` {Doug, Paul & Rick}, 6 `Life Members`, 3 former Presidents, 4 former SnrVP`s, 2 former plus the current Secretary, 1 former plus the current Treasurer, 1 former IHV President, 1 former IHV SnrVP, 1 former IHV JnrVP, the current IHV Secretary and the current Oihan Secretary. The current IHV Game Record holder, plus the 4th most IHV Winter Games played. {Written Oct. 2018}

The total IHV Winter Games played by the group in the period 1977-2018 is 3342 as at the end of 2018. Two have a combined 1452 with the remaining 14 players playing a total of 1890 between them. The average age of the team is 54+ years old!!

A Statistical History:

As part of the Demons 60th Anniversary year celebrations, a dinner was held at the South Oakleigh Club on Friday the 26th October 2007. Along with the many past and present players, administrators and friends, the Club decided to name a Diamond Jubilee Team, to honour those players who have contributed to the success & longevity of the Demons Ice Hockey Club Inc. as a player & administrator. We asked those present to cast their votes from a selected group of nominees who meet a specific selection criteria. On completion of the votes being tallied, the following is a reflection of some great players who have graced our different teams during our early years through to the present day.

The Diamond Jubilee Team as selected is

First Line:

Goal Keeper:                                     Noel McLoughlin

Defencemen:                                    Paul `Jaffa` Watson         Jon Moses

Forwards:                                            Russell Jones     Michael Smits Snr.           Paul Rice                             

Second Line:

Reserve Goal Keeper:                    William `Billy` Buck

Defencemen:                                    Kerry Timmins                   Rick Skrzelinski

Forwards:                                            Carl Fevola          Alan Coleman                    James Brett

Coach:                                                  Rod Johns

Captain:               Russell Jones                     Assistant Captain:           Jon Moses

Club Legends:    Russell Jones & Michael Smits Snr.

To complement these celebrations we also elected our first Honorary Life Members in a decade,

those being Carl Fevola, Rod Johns and Paul Watson in 2007.  We have since added to this list with the election of Bruce McGurty and Rick Skrzelinski 2008, William Buck in 2009, Doug Dow 2011, Evan White 2013, Mathew Fairbanks and Gordon Stewart 2015, adding James Whyte in 2018 as Honorary Life Members of the Demons.

We also elevated several more players to `Club Legend Status` of the Demons Ice Hockey Club Inc., with Paul Rice & Paul Raphael in 2009, Noel McLoughlin 2010, Kerry Timmins 2011, Jon Moses 2012, Rick Skrzelinski during our 70th Season Celebrations of 2015, Rod Johns in 2017 and Doug Dow in 2018 to join Russell & Smitsy. {Updated Dec 2018}

The full list of Legends and Honorary Life Members is;

Club Legends:    2007 - Russell Jones & Michael Smits

                                2008 - Paul Rice & Paul Raphael

                                2009 - Noel McLoughlin

                                2010 – Kerry Timmins

                                2012 – Jon Moses

                                2015 – Rick Skrzelinski

                                2017 – Rod Johns

                                2018 – Doug Dow

Life Members:   1955 - Eric Grandin,                        

1958 - Brian Jose,

1964 - Russell Jones & Noel McLoughlin,

1966 - William Normoyle,            

1967 - Kevin Gronow,    

1972 - James Brett,

1975 - Alan Coleman & Laurie Luxmore,    

1978 - Ken Dwight & Kerry Timmins,

1983 - William Jones,

1987 - Otto Wolf

1988 - Neil Craven, Alan Barnard                              

 1992 - Paul Rice & William Stewart,

1997 - Ken Gunn, Jon Moses, Paul Raphael & Michael Smits Snr.

1998 - Ian Thomas

2007 - Carl Fevola, Rod Johns & Paul Watson,

2008 - Bruce McGurty & Rick Skrzelinski

2009 - William Buck

2011 – Doug Dow

2013 – Evan White

                                2015 – Mathew Fairbanks, Gordon Stewart

                                2018 – James Whyte

Some statistics for those inclined:

Demons Premier A-Grade Premierships; 1970, 1977, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009*,

                                                                         2011*, 2014

Demons B-Grade Premierships; 1961, 1963, 1987, 1988, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004,      

                                                                         2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013

Demons C-Grade Division 1 Premierships; 1995, 1996, 2000, 2011, 2018, 2019

Demons Recreational Grade; Div.II Devils 2011

Demons Premier C-Grade Division 2 {now D-Grade}; 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

All stats are with edited information as at the end of winter season 2018.

Most Senior  Games Played;                                        Most Hat Tricks Scored;

Paul Rice                              695                                         Gordon Stewart                48 - hat tricks

Paul Raphael                      576                                         Paul Rice                              28

Rick Skrzelinski                  502                                         Nigel Chandler                  18

Michael Smits Snr.           474                                         Michael Smits Snr.           17                                          

William Stewart               445                                         Evan White                         15

Carl Fevola                         426                                         Brent Running                   15

Kerry Timmins                   310                                         Don Lord                              14

Most Senior Games as a Goal Keeper;                     Most Senior Games by a Family;

Matthew Fairbanks         251                                         Howell x 6 players            1537

Noel McLoughlin              156                                         Gunn x 4                           989

William Buck                      152                                         Dow x 3                              875        

Mark Howell                      121                                         Smits x 2                           850

Doug Dow                           116                                         Skrzelinski x 3                    752

Barry Muir                           96                                           Brett x 3                               530                        

Longest Coaching stints;                Snr-A, Rod Johns – 15 years, Russell Jones 14 years,

                                                                Snr-B, Rod Johns – 8 years.

Longest serving Captains;             Jon Moses - 11 years, Evan White - 9 years, William Stewart - 7 years

Most A-Grade MVP`s;                    Jon Moses – 6, James Christie – 4, James Brett – 4

Most B-Grade MVP`s:                     Evan White – 5, Rick Skrzelinski – 4, Kevin Hunter - 4

Most C-Grade MVP`s:                     Paul Rice – 4, Gordon Stewart & Don Lord – 2.

Long serving Officials;                                                                     Most Goals in a Game;

Paul Raphael –                  Secretary for 14 yrs.                       9 - Nigel Chandler,             29/06/1998

Doug Dow –                        Treasurer for 13 yrs.                       8 - Gordon Stewart,          28/06/2004

Laurie Luxmore -               Treasurer for 11 yrs.                          - Nigel Chandler,              26/05/1998

Eric Grandin -                     President for 10 yrs.                        7 - Gordon Stewart,             9/08/2004    

Rod Johns -                         President for 9 yrs.                            – Daryl Hamilton,            13/07/1995    

Brian Jose –                      Secretary for 8 yrs.                              - Nigel Chandler,              6/07/1998

Paul Rice -                           Secretary for 6 yrs.                             - Rod Johns,                    21/08/2004

Ken Gunn –                         President for 6 yrs.                          6 - Doug Ball,                     15/06/1969    

Otto Wolf –                         Secretary for 6 yrs.                               - Fred Denischuk            31/07/1977

Dick Karmel –                     Treasurer for 6 yrs.                            - Kevin Dolighan             17/07/1983

Neil Hamer –                      Treasurer for 6 yrs.                              - Michael Smits Snr.       20/05/2004

Notations and statistics compiled, arranged and edited by Paul Rice, taken from club records and with the assistance of memorabilia etc. lent by Russell Jones, Basil Hansen, Andrew Kirkham, Paul Watson, Kevin Brett, Rod Fernald, Glenn Grandy, Werner Schroeter, Beryl Black, Bob Blackburn, Rod Johns and many others, plus

the meticulous records of John McCrea-Williamson, long-time statistician for Ice Hockey Victoria.            

This history was first compiled and written in 1987, updated in 1992, updated and re-published in November 2009; Uploaded on the Demons web site in September 2010, updated further in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018

& 2019.

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