In the Beginning
Ice hockey in Cardiff began when the Wales National Ice Rink (WNIR) was built in 1986. The Devils were then formed by a partnership between the rink owners, Sports Nationwide, and Canadian hockey player John Lawless. Back then, in mid-eighties Wales, rugby dominated the sporting scene and it was difficult to predict how the novelty of ice hockey would be received.
The Devils took to the ice in the autumn of 1986, beginning their journey with a series of away games while preparing for their home debut.
The newly formed team scored four victories on the road (two league and two challenge) but people still wondered how many fans would turn up for that first home game.
The Devils made their WNIR debut on November 30th 1986 against the Ashfield Islanders. Despite the doubts about the attendance, every seat was taken at the WNIR as 2,500 fans packed in to catch a glimpse of Wales’ newest sporting phenomenon. The Devils responded by whipping the Islanders by 32-0. It wasn’t a contest but it was exhilarating and the sell out set the tone for things to come. Ice hockey and the Devils breathed new life into Welsh sport and fans just could not get enough.