Saturday 16th February – Slough Jets Programme

Good evening and welcome to tonight’s game against the Basingstoke Bison. The importance of tonight’s game cannot be underestimated given the league points at stake for both of us and the fact that in 4 days time we’ll be facing the Bison on their home ice for a spot in the cup final.

Last weekend was a split weekend, a big 8 goal shut-out win on Saturday followed by a tough loss against the Flames on Sunday. Not only was Sunday a tough loss to take but also saw some injuries occurring, adding to Aaron’s shoulder injury. We’re coming into busy season, with a game last Wednesday at Swindon, two this weekend and then this coming Wednesday is just an illustration of how busy this time of year can be. The added workload and smaller rest time gives little niggles that players have less recuperation time and injuries that they can normally play through can then turn out to be more serious that they would have been at the start of the season. Look at the Bison last season where Mo had single figures of healthy players to call on at this stage of the season, the Phoenix last season failed to ice their complete intended roster together for the whole season and even us last year suffered with injuries missing big players like Adam Calder and Ryan Watt.

What’s happening now with players suffering injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time! It’s the run in and things are tight and don’t forget there’s Wednesday’s big game to consider as well. Let’s hope the injured players heal up well and are back on the ice soon.

Last weekend we had 589 people in the rink for the Jets vs Flames game which is easily the biggest Sunday attendance this season. We’ve traditionally struggled with Sunday games so to see such a big support at the game was great. Tonight should also be a good night attendance wise as the Bison games are usually well supported for both teams so let’s look forward to a good night’s entertainment.

The GB team arrived back in this country earlier on this week after a brave battle for Olympic qualification. The Olympic qualification didn’t happen in the end but what did happen was Ice Hockey, a tiny minority sport, enjoyed coverage on EPSN and on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. The country was united in it’s support, and it was great to hear of people talking about watching ice hockey on TV or listening on radio. Hopefully this will have a good impact filtering down to the individual clubs.

The one downside was Dave Simms, on commentary taking the opportunity to have a dig at the EPL, and specifically the Basingstoke Bison. It was international hockey, a chance to promote what is good about UK hockey and yet instead it turned into an opportunity for Simms to point out that “Lyle wouldn’t have faced shots like that in Basingstoke …..”. In my opinion there was no need for that, Ben Bowns who plays in the Elite League also wouldn’t have faced shots like that either but the opportunity for a dig at the EPL and a former Elite League side who saw that the EPL business model was more suited to their needs proved too much. A real shame given the brave and outstanding performance put in by the GB boys. I don’t really understand why when there are media professionals such as Graham Bell available that an estate agent gets the gig as the commentator for such an important TV broadcast?

They may play in the opposition team but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that Stevie Lyle and Greg Owen deserve a cheer tonight in the line up for their GB duties.

Enjoy tonight’s game

My team, your team, OUR TEAM