Rax the Destroyer
How I became an Ice Warrior was kind of crazy and all about taking the opportunity at the time and giving 100%
There was contact made to the old ice stadium management about a new game show to follow the Gladiators on ITV Saturday nights. As I was there at the time rink manager Vernon Neal asked me go in for it stating I’d be great for the show. There was a group of directors like Nigel Lythgoe, Roy Scammel (Actor) and choreographers that gave Vern a date to where they wanted as many good solid skaters men and women to come along and take part in some challenges on ice.
I went along with a few good friends of mine Simon Hunt, Nigel Rhodes, and Duncan King from the Panthers to see what it was all about. They set up the first challenge called bulldog we’ve all played this on the park we had to skate one end to the other without being tagged by the 12-15 skaters that was centre ice, so this took stamina and agility to get through. I ended up being the last tagged so was happy id made an impression for the first challenge. We had to skate 5 laps the fastest we could around the faceoff circles and my time was around 58 seconds if I remember and was the fastest time, this really impressed the ITV directors and they dragged me into one of the bars where I had to do an interview. Answered a few questions about hockey my background along with tell a joke or two and sing on camera to see how I came across I guess, when they announced me as the chosen one first to be picked as an Ice Warrior and to wear a bright silver and black costume with the name as Rax The Destroyer!
This I was excited as you can imagine id just left the Superleague whilst with the Panthers and was playing in Milton Keynes this was to take place at the Nynex Arena in Manchester during the summer. There were several other hockey players and figure skaters chosen from all over the country to be an Ice Warrior some I knew. First we had to go down to Camden to skate on an artificial ice surface and had a media launch of the New Show so there was every new paper and reporter there to interview us. I had Katie Price come over on interview me first then Melanie Sykes from the Big Breakfast this was when I realised it was going to be a huge show. From this we trained hard at Manchester and the was on the ice 4-6 hours a day with learning all the new games and getting used to skating around in the extremely large and heavy costumes they gave us to wear. Soon we was leading up to the live shows I remember the first show skating out in front of 17,000 screaming fans and seeing a few banners with Rax The Destroyer on it really gave me goose bumps, there was a game called The Glacial Assault and this was an endurance race under tunnels over bridges and through pylons. Two laps against two competitors I was never beaten in 12 shows and DJ Fox who was the spokesperson named me the undefeated speed king.
There was several injuries I witnessed broken arms, wrists and several cuts n bruises to the men and women it really was combat on ice, but the fans seemed to love the contact games just like a tough hockey game with lots of hits! Throughout the series as warriors we had a great time together Dani Behr was the lady on the mic Dani loved the show and her skating came on tremendously nights out in Manchester were amazing meeting the Gladiators as we shared the same physio’s and doctors during filming were just some of the highlights.
The show came to the final with Nottingham v Hull and both teams I had friends on from playing hockey with them or against them. To end the show there was flags stuck onto the warrior’s backs with money on and I had the Gold Flag which was worth 22 tickets to Colorado for the team that won. It ended up where a good friend of mine Simon Hunt was chasing me for 5 laps to get the flag along with 4 other warriors with the money on there’s. Simon caught the flag and won his team Nottingham Venom the tickets.
It was a great show lots of media coverage ITV had 12 million viewers down to 8 Million was still good back then in 1998 for a prime time spot 7-8 pm on a Saturday night. I believe the expense of the stage and show in total cost over 3 million pound so it was dropped by ITV after its first year. I went onto doing lots of personal appearances as Rax with the Mayor of Nottingham, opening the first Sports Shop in Nottingham and several other school and hospital visits etc.
An amazing experience in my life I’ll never forget made lots of great friends and met lots of great people it just goes to show that when any opportunity comes along grab it and go with it don’t hold back and dedicate yourself 100% for the cause.