Meet the Elite League’s latest history maker

(PHOTO: John Uwins)

One piece of history was missed recently as an Elite League player became the first man to win all three Conferences.

Step forward Mike Will of Guildford Flames, who completed the trio when Paul Dixon’s men scooped the Patton Conference last month.

And he admits that although he and his team-mates spoke of their previous successes afterwards, it never occurred to him he may have made a little history along the way.

“To be honest, I hadn’t thought about it and it hadn’t even crossed my mind when I was told it recently,” he said.

“When we won it, we spoke about it in the locker room and I said I had won it with Braehead and Cardiff and that was that.

“But when the Conference system went from two to three, I hadn’t given it a thought that I could be the first to do it.

“It’s a good thing, being part of three winning teams in my career in the Elite League and lucky enough being part of three great organisations.

Will is the first man to win all three Conferences in the Elite League (PHOTO: John Uwins)

“I feel very fortunate to have been part of these teams and their success in their Conferences.”

Will was a Gardiner Conference winner in the first season of the system at Braehead Clan under Paul Gardner in the 2014/15 season.

A year later, he won the Ehrhardt crown in his first season with Cardiff Devils before picking up the Patton prize with Guildford this season.

Another player could join him soon in Paul Swindlehurst of Belfast Giants, who has the Gardiner from his time with Dundee Stars and last season won the Patton Conference with Manchester Storm.

If Giants win the Ehrhardt, Swindlehurst would join Will in a very small band of players to have achieved this.

Looking ahead, the Patton Conference may not be the only silverware Guildford get their hands on when the Flames take on Belfast Giants in Sunday’s Challenge Cup Final in Cardiff.

It will be Will’s second final after being part of the winning Cardiff Devils team that beat Sheffield Steelers in Sheffield in 2015.

And he reckons the underdog tag Guildford is expected to have is similar to Cardiff as they looked to pick up their first trophy under Andrew Lord.

Will added: “There’s a similar feeling to us being underdogs to when I was with Cardiff in 2015 and we won the Challenge Cup Final in Sheffield against the Steelers.

“It’s very relatable as Cardiff were like a new organisation that year, under new ownership and had a lot of younger players against a strong Steelers team on their home ice.

“It was certainly one of the highlights of my career.  Celebrating that win was fantastic and of course, we want to replicate it.

“We’re going up against a bigger side in Belfast, who are probably heavy favourites, but we’ll go there, play our hockey and hope to have a great day.”

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