The Angry Budgie Live

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

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: 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 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!

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.