This was no normal game, stood in the que at about 4.30pm Tony Hand was chatting away and had mentioned the Bison bus had broken down and they were unsure as to when the team would arrive. Then Phoenix owner Neil Morris came out and rounded up the waiting fans to explain what was happening. In a nutshell:
- The Bison bus had exploded (more or less) around Birmingham.
- The team were awaiting a replacement bus.
- They could not retrieve their bags from the original bus.
- Expected to get to Altrincham around 7.30pm (so a delay of at least 2 hours to face off)
- Bison had offered to scratch the game if we gave them the 2 points (as they needed them most).
Neil then asked the fans waiting what we would want to do, especially given the last point everyone opted to delay face off and await the Bison arrival.
So in we go and settle down and around 1 hour after getting in, Neil came out on the ice to deliver the news. Basically at 5.20pm ish, the Bison were still waiting for their new coach. He explained that they still hoped to get to Altrincham for 7.30pm but they would need a 20min rest, followed by the usual 20min warm up. So we were really looking at an 8.30pm face off, some 3 hours after the normal start time and 4 hours after the doors opened. With that the teams had agreed to re-arrange the fixture, and a hastily arranged scrimmage and skills competition was put on by the Phoenix players.
This was great fun, and the highlight for me was the performance of Josh Garbutt and Nathan Ward in net! A great scrimmage game of two 20minute (ish) period saw the scores tied at 13 a piece. After the game a short skills competition followed comprising a team relay race and a penalty shot competition.
I have to say a big thank you and well done to the Phoenix organisation and players for coping with a difficult situation. There must have been no doubt most people wanted the game versus the Bison. But an entertaining, if not short, night was had by all! If you check out the Phoenix forum most people have picked up on how well this team seem to get on with each other! It was evident last night that the guys have fun, and enjoy being a team! This is great news for us fans!
Now I wanted to comment on something, which may also feature on the Five Minute Major and The Pyre blogs. What on earth gave the Bison the right to ask for the two points? Most people hit the roof when they heard this, it was’nt the Phoenix fault the game was going to be late! We were there, the team all in attendance, the ice was ready! We were waiting for the Bison! Now I know a coach blowing up is hardly the fault of the players, but they cant realistically think that a delay of almost 4 hours is acceptable to the home team and fans already at the rink!? Another thing too, while the Bison need the points, so do we!!!!! Were fighting Cardiff for 5th place, we want those damn points too! I do like the Bison, but im sorry I have lost a lot, if not all the respect I had for them after this little fiasco! What they demanded was simply shameful! Agree with me or disagree with me, I think it was simply a poor display by the Bison!
Anyway after all that the game has been re-scheduled for a week tuesday, the 3rd March.
Link to the away game in Basingstoke.
Well its not quite full event highlights but here is a promo for the forthcoming Skills DVD of last Sunday's evening: