So tonight sees the first ever Elite League All Star game take place at the Coventry Sky Dome. Most of you will be aware of this and of the players from your team taking part. From the Phoenix we have:
David Alexandre Beauregard
The Phoenix would have been represented by the Great One Tony Hand, as captain too, but rather wisely Tony has declined to appear in tonight’s extravaganza! Perfectly understandable as the Phoenix are in the middle of a busy league schedule and trying to qualify for two cup finals! I fully respect Tony’s decision, rather selfishly as it will aid the Phoenix to have a fighting fit Tony Hand in the line up! The other choices are no-brainers! A All Star game without the league’s leading goal scorer would be silly really! Kenton Smith is, arguable, one of the best D men in the league, and Adam has come along way this season!
Onto tonight’s game:
The Concept: I do like the idea of having an All Star game, it gives the chance for the players to let their hair down and have some fun. Along with the usual competitions it also allows them to free style and try a couple of things they could not, or would not be allowed to try in regular league games. I would, however, argue that mandating each team to select 4 players (two imports, two Brits) from the line-up of each team in the North or South, doesn’t really equal a team full of All Stars. It does mean that each team is fairly represented; it just means its not quite full of All Stars.
The Venue/Time: The SkyDome in Coventry, great venue, filled to the brim with fans from all teams will create a great atmosphere! Almost a mini play off finals weekend! However it wont! If you have read The Breakaway British Hockey blog, you will have seen Paul mention that as of yesterday only 400 tickets have been sold. This will not create a good atmosphere! It’s a real shame, I would have love to have gone down to see the leagues best. But a Thursday evening in Coventry? Most fans across the league will not be able to take the time off work to go, I know I cant! It would have been so much better to have it at a weekend! But then you run into scheduling problems with the remaining league games. Or have it at the end of the season, nope cant do that as the Playoff Finals weekend has always been seen as the show piece event at the end of the league season. So your left with a mid-season game in mid-week! Shame really!
Who Will Win? In my opinion the North will, I could say that is entirely down to having the league’s leading scorer on the bench but that would be selfish of me! In all seriousness the North has the resources of Belfast/Sheffield/Newcastle and Manchester. Four very strong teams in their own right! It will be a close game, a high scoring game, but I think the North will take it!
Complete Randomness: Yes that would be Hull being in the Southern All Star team, yes Hull, further north than Sheffield! If you had Hull in the North what does that mean for the balance of the game? You would then have Belfast/Newcastle/Hull/Manchester and Sheffield. In terms of geography you would have to bump Sheffield down into the Southern All Stars. This would leave Sheffield and Nottingham in the same team, obviously that sent the shivers through Elite Towers and it was left for poor Hull to be sent south!
Well after all that, if your going, enjoy yourself, if not who cares really! Paul at the Breakaway will be there running live (hopefully!) updates throughout the evening, so pop by if you want to stay up to date!
A final mention must go out to the Phoenix performance in Newcastle last night, this was the first leg of our Knockout Cup semi-final played in Whitley Bay. Before the start of this game I had hoped for a close encounter. I believed that either team could win the game, and as it was an away game for the Phoenix a close loss would do! Well I was wrong, by all accounts it sounds like the Phoenix played the perfect road game and came away with a 4-1 win. That included a Clouthier breakaway goal! One for the scrap book me thinks! This leaves the second leg set up nicely for the Phoenix, and a game they should close out to advance to their second final of the season! However it wont be easy, the Vipers have nothing to loose and will come at the Phoenix hard and fast!
Should be another corker at the Dome!