Dumfries Ice Bowl is a multi purpose ice rink catering for a range of different sports including Ice Hockey & Curling. It has hosted a wide range of events, including 4 IIHF World Championships and is of course the home of the Building Craftsmen Solway Sharks.
Dumfries Ice Bowl opened its doors in 1992 and has been the home of the Solway Sharks since they formed in 1998. What sets Dumfries Ice Bowl apart from other venues in Scotland is the rinks desire to go the extra mile in achieving excellence in every sporting event it hosts.
It is the Scottish National Centre of Excellence for Ice Hockey and hosts the Great Britain Prospects Training Camps.
The Solway Sharks are the only senior Ice Hockey club playing out of South West Scotland, the Borders or Cumbria and currently play in the Moralee Conference of the National Ice Hockey League (North). Home matches are played out of Dumfries Ice Bowl and usually take place on a Saturday evening with a 7pm face-off time.
In The Beginning:
When Dumfries Ice Bowl first opened in 1992 the Dumfries Vikings were quickly formed and they continued to play in the British League and Border League until their financial demise in 1997. In their time the team list included names well known to Scottish hockey circles such as; Dino Bauba, John Churchill, Gordon Whyte, Martin Grubb, Moray Hanson, and John and Bobby Haig to name but a few.
The Growing Years:
Anxious to keep hockey alive in the town a small group of supporters quickly formed the Solway Sharks and they entered the Scottish League and the Border League at the start of the 1998/99 season. Success soon came the Sharks way with SNL titles and Scottish cup doubles in 1998/99 and 1999/2000 cup winners again in 2004.
After something of a trophy drought in the mid to late part of the decade fortune began to smile on the Sharks once more when Martin Grubb returned to the club as Head Coach in 2008. Mediocre results in the short-lived Celtic League and Scottish Premier League were tempered with success over then arch rivals the Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars as champions in the 2008/09 and 2009/10 Northern Leagues and further success as the 2009/10 Northern League Play-Off Champions.
The Move Down South:
With the departure of Dundee and then Fife to the Elite league the Sharks were left with very little serious opposition in Scotland and the decision was made to apply to join the English National League. This application was successful with the Sharks joining the second division for the start of the 2011-12 season. Solway ran riot in the division winning all twenty-eight league games and scoring no less than three hundred and twenty-one goals along the way. To top things off the Sharks also won the Northern Cup, played in a mini league format against first division Billingham Stars, Blackburn Hawks and Whitley Warriors.
Solway continued to forge ahead the following season and again won the league title, now rebranded as the Northern Ice Hockey League (North) Division one to better reflect the geographical location of all teams, winning twenty-eight and losing just one game along the way. In addition we also retained the Northern Cup after a thrilling two-legged final against Billingham Stars.
In season 2013-14 the Sharks again ended up “top dog” as we retained the renamed NIHL (North) Moralee Conference with ten points to spare before also retaining our Northern Cup in another thrilling two-legged final this time against Sutton Sting. This time however the Sharks went a step further and added the end of season Caledonian Oil Play-Off Weekend title to our honors list at a packed Ice Bowl. A semi-final win over Whitley Warriors set up a terrific final against Blackburn Hawks who had beaten Billingham Stars in the other semi-final but the Sharks prevailed two-nil on the day.
The last two seasons have been something of a disappointment to the Sharks. While we made it to the play-off weekend both seasons we lost out in the semi-finals and for long parts of the season played second fiddle to a very strong Blackburn Hawks side.
However, that was then, this is now and the Sharks enter the 2016-17 season with high hope of returning to former glories.