GUILDFORD, United Kingdom -- A Filipino-Canadian ice-hockey player’s team has defended its Premier League crown in the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA).
Andrew Sharp and the Guildford Flames made history after securing back-to-back titles, clinching the 2012-2013 championship on March 16 with five matches to spare.
The Flames recorded 35 wins out of 54 games and finished with 79 points; 5 more than their nearest rivals Basingstoke Bison.
The 29-year old Sharp, who was born in Manila but raised in Quebec, Canada, believes his team deserved it.
"We proved to be the most consistent team over the course of the season. Like any team we had our ups and downs but we won the big games against the contending teams," he said.
"It is a great feeling to capture the league. The team has been working very hard for seven and a half months to accomplish winning the trophy. It was a hard, grueling season and it is very satisfying to come out on top.
"We had the most experienced team in the UK. We have a lot of players who have won at every level. Our experience was a big factor in our success," he added.
The 6-foot-1 forward, who has built a reputation over the years as a fierce enforcer, is enjoying another year of success.
This is his fourth league title and seventh trophy overall during a nine-year professional career that has seen him compete in Canada, the United States and the UK.
"Every season I play hockey, my main objective is to win a championship. I pride myself in being a team player and doing everything I can to help my team win," he said. "I've been lucky in my pro career to be a part of some great teams. It is something that I will always be proud of even after I am done playing."
Aside from the league, the Flames also won the English Premier League (EPL) Cup, which is a tournament style competition against the other teams in the league.
There is one prize left however still up for grabs -- the Playoff Championships -- which begin later this week and the Pinoy-Canadian admits it would be "a huge feat" to complete the hat-trick.
Sharp has been with Guildford for two campaigns, but his contract expires at the end of this season. He said he is hopeful of striking a new agreement ahead of the 2013-2014 season, starting in September.
In the meantime, Sharp reveals he will be returning to Canada to run his hockey school for kids -- SharpShooter Hockey Training.