Welcome to the final home game before Christmas, and to tonight’s opponents the Manchester Phoenix. What a season it’s been for the Phoenix so far and it’s getting no better with the recent announcement that Tony Hand has indeed fractured his ankle and will miss another 6-8 weeks of hockey. I’m sure everything possible will be done to assist Tony back to full health and back on the ice but in the mean time it’s been a tough season for the Phoenix and they find themselves 10 points off the top of the table.
Hard to believe that we’re at the last home game before Christmas already. The season has flown by so quick and going into this weekend we’re in 2nd place in the league which is a great achievement. Lots of teams were talked about in pre-season, there was lots of hype around teams like Bracknell and Sheffield who are now settling back into more or less where I expected them to be in the table but the one team people weren’t talking about was ours. The league is still so obviously open for challenges from certainly the top 3 teams so we know the action is going to be good around the EPL for the second half of the season.
The highlights of the season so far are the way that the team has come together and performed so well. Individual performances get their recognition weekly with the man of the match awards after every game but I’m impressed with the way the team have come together and played for each other. The junior guys have all stepped up and played their part and the senior guys have welcomed them into the team, shared the game with them and encouraged them along the way. Doug’s done a great job so far of producing a united team, a bunch of guys who play for each other every game and the results are showing with that second place in the table.
Tomorrow night we play our final game before Christmas at Peterborough and this time Stephen Wall won’t be standing in the way. Stephen’s parted ways with the Phantoms and I hope he’s back playing again soon. He’s a good guy, a great netminder and too talented to not be playing for long. In the mean time it’s important we approach the game right and end up for the Christmas break with a good weekend performance.
Thanks to everyone for your support so far in the season. I hope you’ve enjoyed the (mainly) highs so far in 2011/12 and I wish you all a Happy Christmas. I won’t wish you a Happy New Year yet because I’ll save that until New Year’s Day, our next home game against Swindon Wildcats at 6.30 on 1/1/12. Plenty of time to enjoy the New Year celebrations and have a rest before heading out to start the new year with an ice hockey fix.
Enjoy tonight’s game