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SWINDON WILDCATS: Lyle left Bellamy partnership behind for hockey career
WILDCATS netminder Stevie Lyle once formed a feared strike partnership with Craig Bellamy and admits his career would have been very different had he chosen football instead of ice hockey.
The pair, who are second cousins, attended Rumney High School in Cardiff as youngsters and were a potent attacking threat that more often than not found a way through opposition defences.
But while Bellamy went on to win 76 caps for Wales and play for numerous Premier League clubs including Manchester City and Liverpool, Lyle elected to swap goalscoring for goaltending.
“It’s quite well-known back home that Craig lives in the same town as me and that we were at Rumney High School together,” said Lyle, whose son is part of the academy setup at Cardiff City.
“I was up front with Craig who was a better forward than I was and both of us used to score goals, although obviously he scored more than me.
“I wasn’t a bad footballer but I think I was a better hockey player and I had my chance to play for the Cardiff Devils at a young age, so I took it because you never know what will happen in football.
“I could have become a professional footballer but at the same time I might not have.
“If I hadn’t made it then I would have had to get a normal job then and that would have sucked a little bit. Hockey was the next best thing.
“We catch up now and then and it’s nice to see that side of the world and I tell him about the hockey side of the world. He has done very well for himself and is still doing great now.”
Lyle’s decision to choose ice hockey above football in his early teens has served him well, given that he made his Cardiff debut in the British Hockey League aged 14 and now has nearly two decades of playing experience under his belt.
And the former Basingstoke man hopes he can be an example to the more youthful members on the Wildcats roster.
“I’m 34 soon but I’ve been lucky enough to be on the other end of things because I started so young,” he said.
“I was always looking up to guys and seeing how they looked after themselves and how hard they worked on and off the ice.
“Hopefully the guys will think that of me and as long as I’m doing my job out there, it’s only going to help the team because a lot of teams feed off their goalie.”
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