The Angry Budgie Live

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Half Year Review

You may have seen a fair few blogs and postings on forums giving half yearly reviews of the season so far. They are generally a fun read, I on the other hand have decided to be lazy and basically link a few reviews in one post.

The first was posted by Paul over at the Breakaway Hockey Blog, which can be found here!

The second is posted by Matt and Becky over at Five Minute Major.

The final post I've found is by Rob over at The Pyre.

Go check em out if you fancy a good read!

My views on the season so far are basic, I think this is the best team we have had at the Phoenix without a doubt. We all worried when Tallari left, we all worried when we signed Smurf. However I have been chuffed with how Tony has answered those questions. David Beauregard is easily the best player in the league, and in Smurf we have the true GB no.1 goalie! For my he has been the biggest surprise this season.

As Rob over at the Pyre has said what we are lacking is consistency, looking through the game programme we never seem to string a long run of wins. Recently we have reverted to WLWLWL etc....which is frustrating. While I don't expect us to be challenging for the top spot, it seems a shame we have slipped a little recently.

So my wish for 2009 and the rest of the season is a bit of consistency from the team, and who knows an upset in Nottingham!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Phoenix v Newcastle 26th December Game Review

So I hope every one had a great christmas and got everything they wanted from Santa! I must also apologise for the late posting of this game review! As you all will know christmas plans are never set in stone!

So onto the game, it seemed like we hadn't played the Vipers before, its been a long time since they last visited the Dome! Games against the Vipers have always been very physical and quite even, however I would always expect the Phoenix to win the home games against Newcastle!

First Period: A classic first period, end to end hockey, very physical but some great hockey being played. Then over a 8 second period after 5 mins the game was more or less all said and done! Firstly Fulghum scored at 5min 10sec, and as Andy C was reading out the details the second went in at 5min 18sec through Burnett un-assisted! The Phoenix, had, prior to this lost Clouthier to a game penalty for 3rd man in. Now I did not see the incident that caused this, but I remember seeing Clouthier wheel around and stride into the corner. Sadly the officials come down hard on 3rd man in and Cloots was chucked! The period carried on as normal and then with 24sec left in the period Bauregard scored the 3rd for the Phoenix. Overall a very satisfying opener for the Phoenix!

Second Period: Newcastle seemed to find some life in this period and slowly found some life, Verner between the pipes also found his form! The only goal of the period fell to the Vipers and Griffith got his first of the game at 28min 9sec.

Third Period: Another tight period with only one goal to show for it. This fell to Griffiths again who scored the second at 41min 15sec. This set up the third nicely, but the Phoenix managed to hold on and secure the two points.

Verdict: A classic game against the Vipers, tight, physical and hard. However very happy we got the win. Campbell and Payette made themselves an annoyance all game but thankfully the guys dealt with it easily!

Was also good to see the boys doing the double and securing another two points with a win up in Newcastle the following night!

Attendance: Quite a large crowd in considering it was boxing day! I would say 1,400 in!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Dwight takes Flight!

Well its deja-vu, a second player has left the Phoenix during the campaign, dependable Phoenix D man Dwight Parrish will leave after the boxing day clash against the Vipers.

Dwight Parrish leaves the Phoenix


I have posted on the relevant thread on the Phoenix forum, but decided to tone it down on there! Didn't want to get flamed too badly! However on here I've decided to express my full opinion. Yes its a bit of a rant, and its not helped with the memory of Grant Jacobsen jumping ship earlier in the season!

Firstly id like to explain why im disappointed, before finishing off with my thanks etc....

Dwight has decided to go as he has had a 'once-in-a-lifetime' job offer back in the USA, why is it always a 'too-good-to-turn-down' offer? The thing that disappoints me the most is he is leaving half way through the season! Were also in the middle of a busy patch of games, a patch where we could do with as many bodies as possible! Its also disappointing as he has been a great role model for Luke Boothroyd, with whom he shares a blue line with!

It just goes to show, season long contracts here in the UK don't seem to be 'season long' in some cases!

So onto the positive, Dwight has been a great role model (as mentioned above) to the younger players on the Phoenix roster! He puts in a professional display every game and works hard every shift! He has also been a great franchise player, having iced for the Storm and now two spells with the Phoenix.

After all this, I appreciate that hockey in the UK is not the best paid profession, and fully accept a players right to look out for whats best for him and his family! With that in mind I want to offer Dwight my sincere thanks, I will stand and join in with all the other Phoenix fans in applauding Dwight at the Vipers game for all he has given for hockey in the Phoenix!
But it will be done with some disappointment!

Thanks Dwight, and all the best for the future!

p.s. dont flame me for saying the above, but its just my opinion!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Phoenix v Sheffield 21st December Game Review

So last night (sunday) saw the visit to the Dome of the Shuff Steelers, this was to be our last game before christmas. This game also saw my brother Paul (who writes this blog from across in Japan: World Wide Webisphere) and his girlfriend Yuko! For once we were not subject to arctic temperatures in the Dome, probably due to the first double digit temperatures in ages!

Anyway onto the game!

First Period: Not much between the two teams in the first, tho when ever we play the Steelers there never is! The only goal of the period fell to Fulgham at 11min10sec with a cracking shot from the blue line! Other than that there was not much else to the period!

Second Period: This period belonged to Andy Carson, when ever he ref's, and im assuming this is across any game he does, but he is insistent on evening out the penalties called! Either through some dodgy calls or the Phoenix loosing discipline Shuff took hold in this period bringing the game level at 22min46sec through Legue on the powerplay.

Third Period: The final period saw Mr Carson go for even penalties with a vengeance, Hooking, seemed penalty of the month! The Phoenix battled hard to get back into the game but Shuff showed why they are top of the league! Only one goal again this period, and empty netter!

Verdict: A tight game, but the Phoenix were not good enough! Every time ive seen the Steelers this season I have thought they were good, but not great! I view this game, as the others, as a missed opportunity. Mr Carson didn't do us any favours, I don't think he was Tom Darnell poor, but he wasn't good!

The Phoenix are frustrating at the moment, we obviously have one of the best teams ever at the moment, we are riding pretty high in the league, for us anyway! But our record against the top clubs is poor! I wouldn't mind loosing away to these teams but we seem to loose at home too!

Attendance: Good crowd in, disappointed with the numbers from Shuff but the proximity of christmas probably had an effect. Looking around id say 1,800 in last night!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Phoenix v Basingstoke 14th December Game Review

Well this game brought a busy pre Christmas period to a close, bar a small game versus the Steelers on the 21st December!, with this being the 4th game in 5 days. All our games against the Bison have been difficult, home or away the Bison are no push over! This can also be shown by some of the results the Herd have had against those at the summit of the table. As such this was a potential banana skin game for the Phoenix. I also wondered what effect the previous nights exertions against the Blaze would have on the team.

Anyway on to the game, another cold one at the Dome too!

First Period: After the first 10 minutes I thought the Phoenix looked good, it was never going to be a walk over but for the majority the puck remained in the Bison zone. As time wore on I did start thinking, ‘we should have scored by now!’ I know the Phoenix have no divine right to score but we had already had a number of chances, but were being kept at bay by some excellent goal tending from Reiter.
Anyway the break through finally came on 11minutes on the PPG with a goal from come back king Mulherin! That goal, and the five week layoff must have done wonders for Mulherin, on the back of goals against the Caps and further points picked up, Mulherin went mad and completed a first period hatrick. Second and third goals followed at 13mins 46sec with a short-handed goal and a second PPG at 17 minutes ensure the Phoenix were well ahead at the break.

Second Period: More of the same from the Phoenix in the second, but the Bison did get on the scoreboard at 19.47 from a storming shot from Braff on point. Probably one of the best shots seen at the Dome this was first class to the back of the net! Thankfully this prompted a scoring splurge from the Phoenix who raced to a 6-1 lead with goals from Beauregard (26.29), Walker (35.13) and Fulgham (37.35).

Third Period: Crikey the Bison come at you when they have nothing to loose! Couple with the Phoenix taking their foot off the gas the Bison came back with two quick goals in the third period. Firstly Tait at 43 mins and then through Stewart at 45mins the Bison brought the score to within 3 goals. Thankfully this was a wake up call to the Phoenix and Adam Walker scored his second of the night at about the 48th Minute. To cap off another good player performance Walker grabbed his own hatrick at 56min 32seconds to bring the scoreboard to 8-3. Finally with 5mins to go both teams replaced their netties, so this saw Adam Summerfield go between the pipes, he didnt face many shots be crucially he conceded none!

Verdict: Well a banana skin avoided tonight! A tough opposition, possible fatigue setting in but thankfully the Phoenix rose above it and put in a good performance to get the win! Special shouts must go out to Bruce Mulherin who has come back to the line up and provided much needed relief to Bauregard in the scoring column. A second shout to Adam Walker who worked his socks off and bagged a deserved hat trick! A final shout goes to our Birt/3rd Line which put in its best performance for a while! This line is the grit/hard working line, but tonight, with Cloots/Walker/Graham and Boorthroyd (mostly) it was great to see our Brits getting regular ice time and working so hard and more importantly getting their just rewards! Clouthier fits the bill on this line so well! He works hard and looks to protect our Brits, and they in turn try their best for every second of their shift!
My final thought comes as a result of the first 10 minutes of the third period. As has happened numerous times this season the Phoenix get into a great position on the scoreboard, but suddenly we seem to ease off and let the opposition in. I know the Bison only got to within 3 goals, but against other teams that lead could have been reversed! The Phoenix need to learn to kill of games and shut down the opposition. I believe this is the best team we have had at the Phoenix, iron these little things out and we could win things!

Attendance: Probably 1,200 in tonight, I think having two home games so close together contributed to the low turn out. But well done to everyone in last night in making the atmosphere half decent!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Phoenix v Edinburgh 11th December Game Review

This was the first mid-week game of the season (I think) and crikey was it cold! The visit of the Caps saw the Phoenix take to the ice for the second game in five days! As always against the Caps I expect the Phoenix to pick up the two points at home, but the games are never easy ones!

First Period: Good start from the Phoenix saw the home side take the lead after 1min and 5 sec through a Fulgham goal. It was clear from the outset that the Phoenix should win the game. The only un-known was by how many! It took a while for the Phoenix dominance to press home, but at 16min 28seconds Nathan Ward buried the puck into the top right corner!

Second Period: Hmmm the Phoenix either took the foot off the gas or the Caps found their skating boots! The second was a much more even affair. Having said that it was the Phoenix who lit the light next through a welcome return to the goal for Bruce Mulherin at 24min 25sec. This prompted a response from the Caps who finally got on the board at 30min 49sec through Rajcak and then again at 44min and 4seconds through Bowie.

Third Period: The early Phoenix pressure seemed to have gone in the Third and the Caps fought their way back into the game! The Phoenix finally but more breathing space between themselves and the caps thanks to a vintage one-on-one from Beauregard who raced away and buried the puck! All was well! Unfortunately during this period both teams discipline seemed to desert them and both sides made frequent trips to the penalty box. The Caps made the final minutes tense with their third goal at 57min 50seconds through Hurtubise. Then with Kenton Smith in the box at 58minutes and 6seconds for a debatable tripping penalty, the Caps pulled the keeper and lay siege to the Phoenix net! Thankfully the hockey gods were on our side and except for a Caps shot riccoceing from post to post the home side held on for the two points!

Verdict: On a chuffing cold night, it was not pretty, it was not easy! It never is against the Caps, it will certainly not go down as a stellar Phoenix performance, but what the hey, two points is two points!

Attendance: A number of reasons conspired to create possibly the smallest crowd of the season. A mid week game, just before Christmas, aforementioned cold weather and a massive pile up on the M56 saw around 600 brave souls make it to the Dome!

So the Phoenix march on to the weekend, trips to Coventry away (a point would be great!) before a home game vs the Bison (hopefully another two points!)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The big 5-double-oh!

Well it happened, sometime yesterday this blog passed the 500 hits mark!

A big thank you must go out to all you in readerland! My aim with this blog was just to offer my opinions on hockey in this country and of course my views on my beloved Phoenix! A big thanks must also go out to all the other hockey blogs on the tinterweb who have linked The Angry Budgie to their pages. This obviously helps hits on the site, along with creating a big hockey family!

While many out there will probably disagree with my random mumblings, I hope my posts are a good read and that they make you think! The best thing us hockey fans can do is to talk about the sport, and spread the word! Its going to be tough but if we all stick together we can improve the prospects of this sport in the UK!

So that's it for today, but please keep reading, keep commenting! Ill keep trying to make posts cohearant and interesting as time goes by!

Take care of yourself and each other! :)

Monday, 8 December 2008

Cracking Weekend

Well I wouldn't usually do a game review for away games, but I thought for the weekend just gone I thought id make and exception!

This was a tricky weekend, and one that would test the Phoenix. With two away games, first at the high flying Giants and then a tough game against the Devils the following night! Going into this weekend I didn't expect much. While against the Giants we have played well, but ive always thought that they outplayed us on each occasion, Belfast have such strength in depth! Against the Devils, well those games are more evenly matched. The times ive seen them at the Dome they have always been tough games. Certainly at the Dome I would expect the Phoenix to take two points! Away is a different matter! Id take any point/s I can get away from home!

So to the away game at the Odyssey, to be honest I did not expect anything from this game, other than a good performance and possibly a loss in overtime or on penalties. Crikey, so on we go to ihupdate at about 10pm and I literally smiled and said a quite 'Yes!' 5-2 win with a hatrick to Beauregard! That is a cracking result, the team clicks Bau has a stormer along with the real GB no.1 'Smurf'. The Phoenix made the best start to the weekend and showed the rest of the league, we mean business!

After that result I was more positive about the Cardiff game, it would always be close but after the win the previous night, who knows! Same again, satruday night onto ihupdate and it was 1-1 in the third! Talk about a tight game! Sadly the next time I checked we lost in O/T!

So 3 points from a possible 4 from the weekend! I know some may have been disappointed with the loss in Cardiff, but if someone had offered me 3 points from that weekend? I would have taken their arm off!

Well done lads, keep it up!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

What is a well supported Club?

*First off before you read on, I must say this post is in no way an attack on Mick Holland at the NEP! These are just my views and opinions on what he said!*

Well, you may be wondering, it can depend on a number of things!


This post is really an expansion on my previous post back on the 26th November concerning comments made in the Nottingham Evening Post. As you may have read the journalist made two comments following on from the Panthers loss which put them out of the competition. This meant that they joined Sheffield in being knocked out, ‘What are those comments?’ I hear you ask, well they are:

With both Sheffield and Nottingham out of the competition the league is set to loose out on revenue generated from those games involving either Sheffield or Nottingham.
There are no ‘Well-supported’ clubs left in the competition.

Now for the sake of waffling I have summed up the comments made into the above. After making my original post concerning the Challenge Cup I have been in email correspondence with a (Panthers?) fan, who disagrees with my view on the articles in question. In response to a number of the points raised I wanted to re-visit the subject and expand on it, hopefully explaining my views further!

If I take the first comment, the gentleman I have been emailing states the league takes 40% of the gate takings. Now I must be honest I have never seen this amount quoted anywhere, but if any of you out in readerland can point me to its source I will stand corrected. This figure seems very high to me, and is it just for the cup games or is it for all games? If this is true then I will concede that the league is more than likely to make a little less money now Shuff/Notts are out? But I would argue, will they really loose out that much? The Giants are still in the competition and they can claim to pull in crowds equal to those at both ends of the M1! Plus lets face it, any money lost from the CC will be made up at the rather overpriced Play-off weekend!

In reality I think it’s the second comment that has annoyed me the most, the journalist has used the term ‘there are no well-supported clubs left’. How can you define what ‘well-supported’ is? It can be a number of things:

  • Largest average crowd?
  • Largest arena?
  • Most season ticket holders?
  • Largest away following?
  • Loudest crowd?

There are probably more ways of defining it, but reading the NEP articles it seems ‘well supported’ equals largest home attendances. To be honest this is a load of baloney in my eyes! By that token back in the early days of the Manchester Storm, we had the best-supported club in the league with average attendances of over 8,000. But could you really say in those days we were the best supported? Most of those tickets were probably give aways! Plus large attendances can depend on so many things; both Shuff and Nottingham have long illustrious pasts where the fan base has been built upon for years. Realistically at the Phoenix we have only be building our fan base for 3 seasons spread over 5 years. So we may not have 4,000 ave attendances but again what does that matter? We may not have a multi-purpose arena, but again, does that matter?

Personally my view on what makes a ‘well-supported’ club comes down to a couple of things. I think the obvious one is % of seats filled in your home rink/arena, this coupled with travelling support can give an indication as to how well a club is supported. Even saying this many things can affect those numbers. If I may be so bold we at the Phoenix have a tough job competing with both United and City for a fans recreational spend. I would argue that, in Altrincham we have a far tougher time than the Panthers have against Notts Forest and the Steelers against Sheff Utd/Wednesday! I say that even though my dad is a Blades fan! Anyway I digress!

Its difficult to look at travelling support so I thought I would turn my attention to average home attendances and capacities of the rinks around the league. May I start by saying the capactities were taken from Wikipedia (you know anything Wikipedia says is true!) and a rather un-scientific guess at each teams average home attendance.
So I have thrown together a table below, which throws up an interesting top 4 teams in terms of filling their own rink:

Club Average Home Att Rink Capacity % Filled

Bison 900 1600 57
Giants 3500 7100 50
Devils 1800 2500 72
Blaze 1800 2800 64
Caps 500 3800 13
Hull 800 2000 40
Phoenix 1600 2500 64
Vipers 1800 4500 40
Panthers 4000 6500 61
Steelers 3800 8500 45

*hmmm can anyone tell me how to get this list spaced properly?

So lets have a look at the top 4 teams in terms of getting bum’s on seats:

  1. Devils @ 72%
  2. Blaze & Phoenix at 64%
  3. Panthers @ 61%

Of note the Steelers would come in at number 7 in that list. Again it’s a rather un-scientific table, so if you’re a fan of any of those teams and have a better idea on the ave attendance for your team drop me an email and let me know!

So from that table the most ‘supported teams’ in the league don’t occupy number 1 and 2 slot but numbers 4 and 7! Now in my book that does not make you the leagues best-supported club! I must add, however, that I do not claim the Phoenix to be the best-supported club in the league! I think we have some of the most passionate and knowledgeable fans in the league but would never claim the Phoenix to be the best supported!

I feel as though that has now helped me exercise my annoyance with those articles from the NEP. But it goes to show that there may be some truth to the often ‘holier than thou’ views held by many within the Tin Shed and NIC!

I don’t for one moment expect anyone reading this to agree with what ive said, I just hope it makes you think! I would urge readers across all message boards and journo’s to think twice before bandying the ‘Best supported’ tag around. As you can see if can be defined an innumerate amount of ways! I for one am glad neither Sheffield or Nottingham are left in the competition, it gives those of us who are fans of the ‘other’ teams some hope and belief that we can compete for things.

So there we go, this is me signing off on the subject! I hope this post has been interesting to read for you all! Many thanks to Paul over at the British Hockey Blog for his input, and of course I welcome yours!

Take care everyone, and I hope your all out Christmas shopping! Only 23 days to go!!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Phoenix v Cardiff 30th November Game Review

So this saw the return of the Devils to the Dome, a big welcome and thanks must go out to the travelling Devils fans. Quite a few made the trip up to Manchester, unfortunately the drum did too! I always wonder what Cardiff fans must think of our rink as its identical to the Cardiff Bay rink, except we have proper walls!

Anyway onto the game, this game provided an opportunity to reward Tony Hand for passing the 4,000 point mark in the previous nights demolition of the Stingrays. Tony, in his typical fashion, seemed to want to keep things quite! Not on your nelly this time Tony J

First Period: Crikey where did this Devils team come from! The first period again showed how close our two teams are, however if im honest Cardiff seemed to have a step or two extra in them. In a testament to how close the period was the first goal, for the Devils, appeared at the 14minute mark from Teplitsky. The period finished after much huff and puff with shots on goal fairly even. I was a little worried as I was not sure where a Phoenix goal was going to come from! Our shooting seemed a little off!

Second Period: More of the same, a lot of hard work put in by both teams, foreheads frowned some more when Cardiff extended their lead through Hill and Latulippe on the powerplay. SOG again even and at this stage I thought the score began to flatter the Devils.

Third Period: Blimey, the defecation certainly hit the ventilation (quote of the century from the Phoenix forum) in this period. The Phoenix finally got on the board through Luke Fulgham, then a collective nap allowed Cardiff to restore the 3 goal lead when 91 seconds later Campbell scored. Hopes were raised when the next to goals went in for the Phoenix through the leagues leading scored Beauregard and Fulgham with his second. However once again the Phoenix’ concentration let them down and Jarvis snuck in to make the score 5-3. It was in this period that a major ruckus occurred, and in my view, re-affirmed my view that the Devils (and in particular Voth) are a bunch of dirty gits! I think it was Kenton Smith working hard in front of the Devils goal who headed to the far corner to dig the puck out, he was then cross-checked three times by Voth before falling to the ice. At this point it all kicked off, and depending on who you believe Voth had Kyle Bruce literally by the throat!
Now enforcers have a place in hockey, even Brett has a colourful past! But if Voth did what he was supposed to have done he should be thrown out of the league!

Verdict: Bit of a strange game, was a close game but the Phoenix were not at their best! Too many centered passes with no one on the end of, too many times the Phoenix would score and then go to sleep and concede a goal! Having said that I was disappointed with the number of times the Cardiff goalie would push the net off its moorings! Plus the number of times he had to stop the game to complain bout the ice in the crease! Come on mate Murphy has to use the same crease but manages ok!

Attendance: Good crowd in, id say around 1,700 in!

Ah well as always if you have any comments/thoughts they are always appreciated!

P.s. My thanks to Richard Bullock for emailing The Angry Budgie offering his opinion on my previous post. Just goes to show that people do read this blog!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Challenge Cup

WARNING: What follows is a rant I have been working on since the weekend and is written with my Phoenix tinted specks firmly on!!

So as mentioned over the week, a couple of articles caught my eye after reading the British Hockey Blog and then the following two articles by Mick Holland over at the Nottingham Evening Post.

Article One
Article Two

Basically the Panthers have had a pretty rotten weekend with two below par performances. Now to have a go at the team is fair enough but saying that the league will suffer as neither Shuff or Nottingham are in the competition is just plain wrong. It is true that Shuff and Nottingham fans travel in larger numbers but surely as they are two teams with the largest ave home attendances the law of averages says more of their fans will travel?

Ok so you may not have headline 7,000 attendance games in the competition, but I can bet you that all the teams left in the competition will pull in pretty good crowds! Im sure at the Ice Dome we will see an above average attendances. When your club has success in a competition it compels people to take a look and see what the fuss is about!

Also as Shuff and Notts are out of the competition, it may not garner huge amounts of UK wide press, but I would argue, would it have done so anyway? Its not like the Shuff/Nottingham games make national press? More often than not its only the Shuff Star and NEP that cover those games! Plus we need to realise Hockey in the UK is a minority sport, you could argue that the only time the sport gets any UK wide coverage is when the Playoff Finals roll round! Speaking from a Phoenix perspective our continuing presence in the competition will help our club, and get it some local attention! We should be concentrating on getting each club noticed in their locales than trying on a national scale? In reality would a fan in Rosyth be bothered about a Phoenix game? No, we need to be getting that fan interested in the Caps, for the Phoenix we need to get the public of Greater Manchester and the NW interested in the team!

When will supporters and journo’s of the ‘larger’ clubs realise that they have no divine right to each cup competition. Just because neither Shuff or Nottingham are through in the challenge cup does not mean the league will be without money. It just means Shuff and Nottingham will make a little less money than before. As Paul in the British Hockey Blog has said, and something I take exception to, why is it that with Shuff and Nottingham out the competition it means there are no 'well supported' clubs left? How do you define a well supported club? As mentioned before lets say 10% of Shuff's ave home attendance travel to away games, that would mean 400ish travelling fans. By that equation 150ish Phoenix fans would travel to away games. Does that mean the Phoenix are not a well supported club? Also if we define well supported clubs as those with a large fan base, I bet if you worked out the percentage of filled seats on an average game in the House of Tin or the NIC I bet that percentage is similar to that of the Phoenix in the Ice Dome. You could argue that some clubs fill a bigger percentage of their home ice than either Nottingham or Shuff (thinking about Coventry here)! Again it all comes back to your definition of a 'well supported' club, sadly I think its still a case of people connected to Shuff/Nottingham having opinions above their station! So with that I say get off your high horse for once!

Sorry for this rant, but reading those articles really has annoyed me, I don’t expect you to agree but at least have a think about my comments! If you can be bothered after all that id love to hear your thoughts too!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Hockey Banners in Manchester and beyond.....!

So with this post I wanted to finish off displaying the banners my family have made for the various hockey teams in Manchester. Today's post includes the most recent Phoenix banner and a banner with a more international feel!

This is the newest banner designed by the family and quite different to others made, certainly much more shiny! If im totally honest I don't think its our best to date, the lettering does get overpowered by the shiny back ground the further away you get!



I think ill carry on hanging the Phoenix banner v1 and introduce this one along side!

Anyway that concludes the Storm/Phoenix banner history and now for the international element to this post. As some of you may be aware there is a gentleman who posts on the Phoenix forums as Darth_Maul, he is my brother, unfortunately, and he is currently out in Japan teaching English. He is as big a hockey fan as the next and stays in touch with all things Phoenix.

A while ago he had his students design a Phoenix banner, naturally it was designed in Japanese and is chuffing huge, well compared to our usual banners anyway! Ive tried to take as good a picture as I can, so here it is:



As you can see its pretty damn good!
Certainly got a few looks when it was first hung at the back of block 4!

If you have a few mins you can go and have a gander at his random brain mumblings here: Brain Mumblings

Righty that's it for today, im still working on my post for tomorrow regarding a certain journo's attitude to the Challenge Cup now the 'big' boys are out. Ill warn you know, it will see my Phoenix tinted specks firmly on and may degenerate into a rant! Well see how it goes!

Anyway hope you have enjoyed looking at our banners and as always comments are appreciated!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Phoenix v Hull 22nd November Game Review

Last weekend (just gone) was defiantly what the doctor ordered! After a run of three defeats it was nice to have a weekend facing Hull and Edinburgh. Two teams I would expect the Phoenix to take 2 points from. After an usual home game (it was on a Saturday! Whats all that about!) and a long road trip up to Scotland the day after the Phoenix got back to winning ways with a superb 4 point weekend! Highlights, defiantly Smurf’s shutout on Saturday and TH’s hat-trick up in Edinburgh! Ah well Mr Hand you’ll need to wait for number 4,000!

Anyway onto the game last Saturday:

As with any game the Phoenix play against the lower placed team I always go to the Dome with the expectation to win, but with a slight sense of unease! As has quite clearly been shown any team can beat any other in this league!
So the Phoenix were without Mulherin, who's shoulder injury does not seem as bad as first feared. But other than that we were at full strength!

First Period: A quick start by the Phoenix saw the team exert early pressure upon Cruickshank in the Hull goal. It was obvious from the off that apart from Cruickshank it was a fairly poor Hull team. Im not sure why as games v Hull in the past have been difficult affairs. That being said the Phoenix still had to put the puck in the net, thankfully they did this at 10minutes with Alex Dunn getting the scoreboard off the mark. A second followed from the stick of Beauregard and the Phoenix went into the break 2-0 up. The shot count showed how (almost) one sided the opening 20 was, with Murphy facing 4 shots and Cruickshank facing 15!!

Second Period: This saw a bit of a fight back from Hull and thus restricted the Phoenix to just the one goal for the period. A powerplay.....yes powerplay.....strike from Luke Fulgham ensured the Phoenix stayed on top.

Third Period: The main objective of this period was to ensure the Phoenix would not throw-away the lead built up. As always the next goal is crucial, and it was the Phoenix who got it! A second PPG goal from the stick of Kyle Bruce more or less put the game to bed. A fifth marker from Josh Garbutt ensure the two points and all that was left was to help Smurf get his first shut out of the season. In the end the Phoenix held on to get the win, the two points and a shut out

Verdict: An important game for the Phoenix, against a difficult team we had to get the win! In the end im not sure the real Stingray's turned up. It was a little one sided at times, but a win is a win! Good display from the referee tonight as only 8 penalties were handed out to both teams.

Attendance: Probably 1,000-1,200 in on saturday, not helped by an usual saturday night face-off and arctic conditions outside and inside the dome. Despite this good noise and hearty support for the team.

Glancing around the league over the weekend threw up some impressive results, with time im becoming more convinced that this is the most competitive season yet in the EIHL! Its also nice that us so called ‘small’ teams are mixing it up regularly with the so called ‘big’ boys!
Reading the Breakaway blog I have to agree with Paul’s comments here: British Hockey Blog resulting from the Bison knocking the Panthers out. Its always pleasing to see people with such blinkered views on the league proved wrong! So well done to the Bison long may you do well, except when playing the Phoenix of course!

P.s tomorrow I will post the second instalment of my Banners in Manchester posts, this time with a picture of the new banner and a banner with a more international feel!

P.p.s im also putting together a post prompted by the NEP comments on the challenge cup. Expect a rant coming on!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Hockey Banners in Manchester

So for today's post I thought I would post a chronological list of the banners my family have made for the Storm back in't day and now the Phoenix!

Im not sure what prompted it but not long after the first Storm home game the idea was floated to make a banner for the Storm. It probably helped that at the time the Storm had the massive video wall in the arena. Having a banner helped getting on TV! It was usually my brother and sometimes dad that designed the banner and then my mum would make it, with some occasional help from yours truly! To be honest my role in the whole process was to get the banner fame and fortune on TV, well got the first bit!

Anyway on to the banners, this is our first effort, which I think appeared during the debut season of the Storm in 1995:



Pretty basic as you can see, but shiny and effective!

This next banner I believed appeared in the 97/98 season and is probably my favourite Storm banner, I think its the most stylish banner we have done. As you can see it was amended at the end of the 98/99 Superleague championship winning season and is signed by that years team:



The next banner was also our first effort for the Manchester Phoenix, and I think it appeared during the Phoenix' debut season. This banner vi's for my favourite title with the above Storm banner. Inspired by the teams shirts this banner has lasted along time (in part enforced by the Phoenix being mothballed for two years), it is set for retirement but may still hang at the back of block 4 for a long time yet!



A new banner has been made and will hopefully make its debut at the Phoenix game v Hull this weekend, and ill post its picture with the usual game revue on monday next week!

I hope all you out there in reader land have enjoyed reading and looking at our banners, I urge everyone to go out and make a banner for your team! Anything us fans can do to make hockey more entertaining and colourful can only help!

As always comments are appreciated!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Phoenix v Belfast 16th November Game Review

This week I cant do the usual game review, as due to other commitments I was unable to attend the Phoenix V Belfast game. I would like, however, to make a comment or two based on reading the Phoenix forum and the Manchester Online website.

It sounds like it was a close game, with the Phoenix coming up against a determined Belfast team. The Giants were the opponents for the only other Phoenix game I have missed this year, so yours truly has yet to see them. But from all accounts it seems like the Giants are one of, if not the best team to have taken to the ice at the Dome. It is also a marker of how far this team has come, going into this game many people, myself included, thought the Phoenix could get something from this game. Last year we could not have expected that!!
So its not surprising that many fans are gutted we did not get at least a point, 23 seconds to hold on!! Gutted! But that's Hockey, you can win or loose a game in 3 seconds!

So with that the Phoenix are on a loosing streak but hopefully only a short one, we have games versus Hull and Edinburgh next weekend, and while tough, I would expect a 4 point weekend from the guys to get back on track!

With that ill end, normal service should resume by the weekend! Plus the possibility of a new banner being revealed at the game! That's a point ill take a picture and post the current banner that hangs at the back of block 4 most games!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Fanmedia.info

So hopefully you may have noticed a couple of the hockey blogs on the web have made reference to a website called Fanmedia. This has been set up with the goal of bringing together all the hockey blogs out there to try and bring a little more recognition to hockey in this country. So if you have a moment take yourself to: www.fanmedia.info and check out all the blogs/podcasts that have been linked to the site. More and more will be added over the coming months and hopefully the site will be linked to local newspaper websites across the country.

This is a great development for the sport of hockey in this country, it is obvious that, short of local media, hockey will never get proper nationwide exposure. So it is up to us fans to try and further that exposure!

Power to the people and all that!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Musical Chairs on-ice!

Ok so I was going to post my thoughts on the fan-media revolution that seems to be going on at the moment, ive decided to swap that with this. Mainly as I have not got round to writing those thoughts yet!

So in its place is a video my girlfriend took of me partaking in some on-ice entertainment at a recent Phoenix home game. Needless to say yours truly made it to the final only to be defeated by a sponsor! Fix I tell you Fix!!!!!

Anyway take a look, leave a comment if you like, and enjoy!

P.s. im the guy who starts at the bottom right of the screen!


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Gig Review - Airbourne, Manchester Academy 08th November


Ok so as promised last week here is my first gig review for this Blog.

Date: Saturday 8th November
Venue: Manchester Academy One
Band: Airbourne

Had been looking forward to this gig for a while, Airbourne are a bunch of Aussies in a rather AC/DC mould. The gig was a near sellout and thankfully most of the crowd seemed to be of a similar age, if not a little older, to my girlfriend and I! This was good for a couple of reasons, we were not surrounded by young kids trying to be wild, as they were no doubt let out away from their parents for a night! We did not seem to be standing in the pathway for everyone in the gig, as we usually are for some reason!
Anyway we missed the band coming on stage due to parking issues, but we walked in while they were rocking through the first song. All in all it was a fantastic gig, great rock songs, great rock ‘n’ roll set, the best tunes being, Too Much Too Young Too Fast and Diamond in the Rough.
It was a simple set, no pretentious props just lots of amps and a hell of a lot of smoke! Im sure the band hand a drummer, I could hear one! Just couldn’t see the lad!

Anyway a quality nights entertainment, if you get the chance to see em please do!

P.s sorry for the poor quality pictures, the smoke machine guy was getting very excited!
P.p.s. so tomorrow will hopefully see my thoughts on the Fanmedia revolution, then Thursday will see my first video upload, of yours truly partaking in some on-ice entertainment!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Phoenix v Sheffield 09th November Game Review

Disclaimer: I am writing this while still rather hacked off at Mr Kohnen who reffed last nights game, I also have my Phoenix tinted specs firmly on! You have been warned!

So the Phoenix came into this game short of Tony Hand and Smurf, who were off on GB duty. The Phoenix had been in Sheffield the previous night and by all accounts played their worst hockey of the season! Not surprisingly we lost, but hey to have only now put in our worst performance that’s not bad! Just why did we have to do that, playing Shuff! Anyway onto the game in Altrincham:

First Period: A frenetic opening to this period ensured that this was going to be quite a game, Sheffield scored first through Talbot, only for Clouthier to tie up the game a mere 33 seconds later. The period continued with the little niggles that typify a Shuff performance. By the end of the period Shuff had scored again through Legue on the PP and the Phoenix had, once more, tied the game through Ward.

Second Period: Despite having fewer men Shuff were able to win the second period by a score of 2-0 through goals from Finnerty and Sarich. This resulted in the Phoenix going back to the locker room 4-2 down and a sense of dread in the stands. The second period also saw the controversial intervention of Mr Kohnen. With mounting Phoenix pressure David Beauregard picked up the puck and rounded the Shuff goal to score a perfect wrap around. Cue delirium in the stands and delighted Phoenix players, only for Mr Kohnen to wash out the goal. In his words the goal was disallowed as the net was off its moorings! Yes Mr Kohnen the net was off after the puck crossed the line and serial abuser of netts Mr Lehman pushing it off!!!!!!!!!


Third Period: Well it all kicked off in the third, Phoenix heads dropped when Shuff scored their fifth with 6 minutes to go through Talbot. Burnett got his second (?) of the season which lifted Phoenix spirits. For the rest of the period the Phoenix lay siege to the Shuff net, however were not able to get the break through!

Sorry Mr Kohnen you cost us that game!!

Verdict: Just writing this review gets me angry at some of the poorest reffing I have seen all season. I cannot believe that one man gan ruin a game for a team! Im not saying the Phoenix played amazing, we didn’t! We obviously missed Tony Hand, the usual creativity was not quite there! And while Jacey Moore put in a good performance between the pipes, when he was left exposed he just wasn’t quite there where Smurf would be! Shuff were not great either, its obvious both teams suffered from loosing players on GB duty. That opens up another argument, one which I cant be bothered with right now! So disappointing weekend, and the first null point weekend for the Phoenix. So hopefully with all players back, Mulherin back from injury, a week to regroup in time to get back to winning ways next weekend!

Attendance: One of the best gates so far this season, and that wasn’t because of a huge Steelers turn out! Id say 1,800+ in the Dome tonight. Whoever says the so called ‘small’ clubs cant generate a great atmosphere was not in the Dome last night!

p.s My gig review will appear tomorrow, and a quick comment on the fan media site hopefully on wednesday!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

A few off topic things.......

Today I have decided to post a couple of thoughts that have occured to me over the past week or so!

One: You can’t have escaped the US Election recently, I don’t profess to be an expert in anything to do with US politics but have to admit im happy Obama won. Its not down to the colour of his skin, its more to do with my worry of McCain winning. Lets face it, he’s getting on a bit! To have Palin a heartbeat away from the Oval office worried me! The one comment I will make about Mr Obama is it seems like the US is changing! Who would have thought they would elect an Afro-American to the top job. Perhaps times are a changing in the ‘ol US!
There is one thing that really hack’s me off about the US election though, and that is the ridiculous amount of coverage afforded to it by the British media, the BBC especially! Now I know the US President can affect our country but do we really need to send an army of reporters over to the pond? Plus I cant believe how much time the BBC gave to it, so many reporters out on the street, big studio’s and sets, live coverage of the results (ok I can understand that bit!). The gripe comes as you realise, would NBC/CBS/CNN/Fox do the same when we elect a new PM? I don’t think do! Speaking to an American friend the other day he admitted that UK politics barely gets a mention and that most American’s wouldn’t know who Gordon Brown is! For that matter there's probably plenty in the UK who don’t know either!

Two: It appears that the doom merchants have a new person to attack – Jeremy Clarkson. Those of you who watched Top Gear last Sunday will know the TG team did a great feature where the guys drove lorries! JC made a comment, light-heartily, about truck drivers and prostitutes. Low and behold a couple of days later the papers are screaming it’s a disgrace and should be investigated! Please! Get a life! Just like the Bran/Ross incident, number of complaints received by people who watched the show 200 (tiny)! Number of complaints after media hype – triple that (stupid)! Seriously how can people complain when they didn’t watch the show?
Also have you noticed the girl at the centre of it all has now changed her tune? Shes gone from – 'there a disgrace and should be sacked', to – 'oh its gone too far, suspension is ok but they shouldn’t loose their jobs' Too late Miss you’ve done your damage!

Three: Finally next week will see a treat for you all.........no its not that exciting! Along with my regular game review, vs the Steelers, I will post my first gig review! My girlfriend and I are off to see Airbourne at the Manchester Academy Saturday night!

Anyway after all that I wish all the teams success for the weekend, including team GB, except the Steelers! Take care everyone, and as usual comments are appreciated!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Team GB

With the GB team away this weekend it appears many elite league teams will be without parts of their roster. Here at the Phoenix we loose Tony Hand and 'Smurf'. This leads to mix feelings for myself, I'm happy that there are some Phoenix players in the squad but I am worried the effects this will have on the team, particularly as this weekends games feature a home and away series with the Steelers.

This will mean that our back up Adam will more than likely step between the pipes for his Elite debut, this creates a dilemma, as I have mentioned on the Phoenix forum's ill admit to being a bit nervous having Adam in net for this weekend. This is mainly due to his inexperience at this level! On the one hand I would prefer we got a net minder in with a proven Elite record, but I do want Adam to progress and he will only do that by getting minutes on the ice! Hence the dilemma!
The question may be answered for the Phoenix anyway, as it appears the Elite league and Sheffield seem intent on stopping the Phoenix drafting in anyone!

Looking ahead to that weekend it may turn out a more even series of games than we all think. While we will loose one of our best players, and our starting net minder. It seems Sheffield will be without up to 5 players. That being a whole line, and, it seems the Scimitars are playing all weekend too, means that Sheffield could be seriously short staffed. If that's that case, and so long as our defence step up and the whole team help Adam out it could be a good weekend for the Phoenix!

Well we will keep an eye on the news to see what happens but if you fancy a quick read of the article on the MEN website please click away!

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/ice_hockey/s/1077583_hands_anger_at_goalie_farce

Monday, 3 November 2008

Phoenix v Cardiff 02nd November Game Review

First off, just before I get to my game review just wanted to say a quick well done to Lewis Hamilton on winning the F1 championship! To do it in Massa’s back yard made it equally special! Personally liked seeing the realisation on the Ferrari mechanics faces! Priceless!

Also a quick note on the Phoenix’ visit to the NIC Saturday night, it is a mark of how far this team has come that most Phoenix fans were disappointed we came away with nothing! Last season I would have taken a 5-4 loss as it meant a close game! But this time around I felt like it was two points lost! What hurts too is we obviously made such a good start. 2-0 up in the first and a thoroughly dominating performance! Never mind you can’t win em all!

Anyway onto the Devils, didn’t know what to think on this game beforehand, as it was the Devils’ first visit to the Dome for a league game this season. Plus I did not see the pre-season friendly either! It was always going to be a tough game as ive always thought we have been equal to Cardiff most seasons!

First Period: A very tense opening period, one, which emphasised how close each teams were. There was quite a lot of flowing hockey but I couldn’t help notice a few cheap shots, digs, holds coming in throughout the period. For the most part either team cancelled each other out and had me thinking it would be a low scoring game. However with Kyle Bruce in the box, Tony Hand scored a sublime 1 on 1 goal short handed. That man is class! I did still think he was probably tempted to pass rather than shoot! J

Second Period: The second started much like the first, however Cardiff started to come into the game and began to dominate. Why do the Phoenix do this? Our second period’s need to improve! It was coming and a little under 3 minutes into the second Cardiff were on the scoreboard! This succeeded in starting up the Cardiff drummer! Seriously it’s mostly noise and no tune!! (Very sorry but that’s my opinion!) Cardiff went 2-1 up on the powerplay and to be honest I couldn’t see us getting back into the game! But crikey was I wrong! In 24 seconds we went into the break 3-2 up after a quick ppg from Garbutt followed, just as Andy Costigan was reading out the scorers, by a goal from Parrish. A contender for goal of the season IMO. A wonderful flowing move from the Phoenix net all the way to the back of the Devils net!

Third Period: Those quick goals obviously spurred the Phoenix on and the third period was a dominating performance. Another ppg put the Phoenix two goals in front and then two sniper goals from Beauregard put the Phoenix out of sight!

Verdict: In the end a cracking win for the Phoenix against a very good Devils side. Im surprised they are where they are in the league. They do work hard, but they dig and hold a little too much for my liking. Anyway a good win especially after the loss the previous night! Plus it proves that the Phoenix can get down and dirty if they need to!

Attendance: Probably around 1,200 in last night, good noise despite this!

Another good evening down the Dome, made a little fraught by my car flashing an airbag failure warning – all cleared now! But topped off by a Phoenix win and Lewis winning in Brazil.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The season so far.........part 2!

This post kind of follows up on my thoughts of the team so far this season; and wanted to give my opinion on a couple more things.

My first thought is a follow on from last season, and the first full season we had in our finished rink. Now I love our Dome, yes the sight lines are rubbish, but its our home and I love it! Its got character, quirks and so many little things that make it more of a home than any arena would. Which is why it frustrates me to read fans of arena teams come here and moan! Look you knew what you were coming too, there have been endless posts on forums around the league that our rink, and Cardiff’s for that matter, don’t have great sight lines. Its easy to get round it, stand up or watch TV, just don’t say you didn’t expect it!
Still, I wouldn’t swap the Dome for an arena anytime! I have been to Schuff when the shed has been half full, such a poor atmosphere. Plus in the last days of the Storm/First Phoenix season, imagine 1500 people in an arena that can seat 17,245, you can imagine that atmosphere! No the Dome is great for us, we can create an awesome atmosphere in that place, 2,500 fans in a small/compact tin rink its fantastic!

My second thought for this post, and I hope the Phoenix can maintain their current form and finish high up the table, is this could be a season when the fans of the ‘big’ teams finally realise there are other teams in this league.
The reasoning behind that thought comes from our resent wins against Schuff and Nottingham. Immediately after our win against Schuff I remember going on Steeltalk and reading the reaction cross the pennies. Not one comment acknowledging the fact that the Phoenix were the better team and deserved to win! Fast forward to the win against Nottingham in the NIC, I was so pleased to read the Panther fans admitting the Phoenix were, on that occasion, better than them! I think it may need a good season, with a good finish, to convince these fans that there are teams outside their arenas!

Im sorry if that last though annoys some of you, but I have to admit to feeling closer to the likes of Basingstoke/Hull/Edinburgh etc.. as I always feel that because we don’t play out of an arena, we are not good enough!

p.s. Crikey just read that Ed (Big Nose) Courtney is back in the Elite League after singing for Newcastle! Will be good to see him on the ice again, I just hope hes not slowed down too much!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The season so far.........part 1!

Right so back to one of my original posts that I wanted to kick off my blog with, but along the way I got distracted by a few things! Namely the troubles over the weekend with the Bison/Caps and the whole ridiculous media driven witch hunt against Mr Ross and Mr Brand! (though im not condoning what they did!)

So here we go, we are a fair few games into this season and ive decided to offer my thoughts on the Phoenix so far this season!

Over the summer I was pleased to see the league introduce a rule that allowed the lower placed teams of the 0708 season an extra import slot on the team. As a fan of a recipient team of that particular rule I was excited to see what effect this would have on the Phoenix. I certainly didn’t think it would result in our club being in the top half of the table!!

This particular rule has a great future for clubs in this league, by allowing the so-called ‘lesser’ clubs an extra import; theoretically, they can sign an improved roster. Improved roster = better results = more bums on seats = more money in the bank = longer-term survival. That theory however has only kind of worked for the Phoenix (as it stands right now). We have a strong squad, crowds are up and we are playing well and winning games. We are, in a way, unique in the league in the way we have taken advantage of this rule. The main two reasons we are doing as well as we are, I think, are:

Firstly, sign a British nettie. I have to be honest when we signed ‘Smurf’ I was a little worried. The one position I thought should always be filled by an import was the goalie. However a couple of games in and I stand corrected! Smurf is an excellent goalie and so long as our D looks after him, he is as good as most other goalie in the league!

Secondly having Tony Hand as player/coach, He is import quality and having him as coach means his wages don’t count towards the salary cap. This works great for the Phoenix as any money set aside for his place in the roster can be spread across the rest of the team.

Thirdly (and I know its not as a result of the 11 import rule, but It all adds up) the quality of our Brits is the highest its ever been, I was so happy that Adam resigned and we captured Boothroyd too! Our Brits really have helped to create strong three line hockey at the Phoenix. Something we have not had before, and something which means we are in the top half of the table!

Right onto the team, this is by far the most hard working and skillful team we have seen at the Phoenix. Over the summer I was worried, as Tallari left, as Basiuk left, after Mangos was not resigned I really started to wonder how well we could do this season. However I should not have doubted Tony at all!

So far Smurf has exceeded my expectations, and with a full season of Elite hockey behind him I fully believe he will become a great netminder. Not sure what to think on Adam, while I have no doubts he is an excellent goalie, I wonder where/when he will get ice time. It’s a catch 22, I want him to get ice time, but I worry if he were to go in net for us that he may concede a lot of goals. But if he is to become an elite nettie he has to start somewhere!
The defence is way better than the 0708 D. Not many walk about so far this season, and good contributions to attacking play whilst also looking after Smurf. There has only been a couple of occasions (mainly v Nottingham) when our D has gone away and left Smurf exposed. Hopefully with time these instances will get worked on and go away!

Our forwards, well as mentioned I was sad Tallari left, but in comes David Beauregard and everyone is saying………Tallari who? This guy is immense, everyone will be familiar with his situation but the way he plays/works/fights and by all accounts is a thoroughly nice bloke he could be the best player to pull on a Phoenix shirt! Ably assisted by the evergreen Tony Hand our top line is a dream. Our second line is not much further behind, after a slight hiccup…..Grant who?…..the second line has picked up from the hard working until of 0708 to add skill and goals for this season! Brett has carried on and got better, and now we have Burnett who, if his debut goal for the Phoenix is anything to go by, will turn out to be an excellent signing. Finally our third line, This is where the biggest improvement has been, having a quality 3rd line has, and in Bretts MEN column has stated, gives the top two lines more rest and a chance to recharge. This will ultimately decide where we finish in the league table this time around!

So I do hope ive not bored you to death with that one, but that is pretty much what I think of the team so far this year!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Elite League Money Problems.....

Right, I was intending to post the first of my thoughts on the Phoenix season so far tonight, but reading the local paper and events over the weekend have prompted a change, so what follows is my take on the troubles at the Bison and Caps along with my idea of a solution!

So this post concerns the recent developments at the Bison and the Caps. It seems as though both teams, despite encountering financial difficulties, should make it to the end of the season. But the main thing that worries me is…what happens then?


It seems as though, in both cases, promised sponsorship money has not been forthcoming, also the collapse of Zoom did not help matters. Surely when these sponsorship contracts are drawn up some consideration must be given to making them legally binding? (of course this is where my complete lack of understanding on these matters is shown up!) How can a company, who promises to sponsor a team, simply walk away? That’s what baffles me!!

I consider the Bison/Caps along with the Phoenix as, in the grand scale of things in the Elite League we are all ‘small’ teams. So whenever I hear of other teams having trouble I have to admit to worrying about my team! Thankfully I think no news is good news in terms of the Phoenix! We managed to get all (bar a couple) of players in before Zoom went bust. Our team are playing well so hopefully sponsorship money is continuing to come in, and crowds are up (I think!). Whilst I hope the Phoenix continue to flourish I really hope, come the end of the season, sensible heads can be put on and a long-term future for the Bison/Caps can be found.

My own thought (though probably had by someone else already!) could be to have a central pot, where any profits from the clubs who make money could be shared out to those less fortunate. A bit like the NFL (I think!). I know this idea may not sit well with Giants/Panther/Blaze and Steeler fans, but surely they would prefer to be playing 9 other teams as opposed to 7? That would get very boring very quickly! I can see a hole in that plan already in that, its not a given that the ‘bigger’ teams make a consistent profit (as you never see any financial results) but as the league is run by the club owners surely they can get round a table and thrash something out?

Every new season along with praying for a hard working Phoenix team, I always pray for a full season with every club making it without any wobbles. Again this seems not to be the case for 08/09. So please, Elite League, lets get this sorted for the good of Elite hockey in this country!

p.s. reading through today’s MEN it seems that the future development in Altrincham, which, would have included a new 3,000-seat arena for the Phoenix, has hit difficulties. One of the developers behind the project has filed for administration, I really hope this doesn’t put an end to the project, as our beloved Ice Dome is only a temporary facility. I just hope it doesn’t become a permanent temporary facility!

As always your comments/thoughts are appreciated!