Saturday 23rd February – Slough Jets Programme

Good evening and welcome to tonight’s game against the Manchester Phoenix. It’s the start of a tough weekend with a trip to Guildford tomorrow as well.

I’m writing this on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Basingstoke for the second leg of the cup semi-final. Obviously I don’t know the outcome right now but I can see that we were in a good place going into the game, a four point weekend including a win over Basingstoke and the Bison picking up just a single point from their weekend last weekend. We went into the game with a one goal aggregate lead but what happened before will have counted for nothing and I think the best team on Wednesday will be the first team into the final. I hope it’s us!

Tonight it’s Tony Hand who brings the Phoenix to the Hangar. The Phoenix perch precariously in third place at the moment, they’ll be hoping to move up to second place in the final reckoning but in the same time frame both us and MK will be hoping to move up and overtake the Phoenix in the table position. I read on Twitter that Stephen Fone will also be undergoing surgery so the next few weeks ahead will be tough for the Phoenix.

Last weekend I had to explain the high sticking rule to a few opposition fans at the game. It’s a simple call, if a player is caught by a high stick from an opposing player and there is blood drawn then a match penalty is called. If the injured player returns to the game then the penalty is reduced to a 5+game penalty. It’s a tough rule but it’s a fairly black and white rule. The only things for the referee to consider are (1) was there a high stick and (2) was blood drawn. If so it’s a major penalty, there is no scope for debate on the penalty call at all. There are many calls, that can be marginal, whether they are called or not but the high sticking call is clearly laid out for the officials to make the decision.

Personally, the accidental high sticking rule is possibly the harshest in the book but the thinking is that you, as a player, are responsible for your stick so whether malicious or accidental if contact is made and blood drawn the rules state that you must call a match penalty.

We’ve had a couple of good weeks on the attendance front and since the turn of the year the average has headed in the right direction. After tonight we have just three league home games scheduled this season. We’ve not yet officially qualified for the play-offs but it would take a miracle for us not to meaning there’s four more home games and that’s the season done at the Hangar. By the team you read this we’ll know whether or not we have to schedule in a home game for the cup final also but as you can see your chances to bring friends and introduce them this season are running out.

With the importance of the run in it’s important that we have good attendance to be that extra line. The extra line that can be there to cheer on the lines on the ice, to lift them when they get towards the end of the game and energy starts to lag. There are 1000 seats available so we may as well do our best to try and fill them!!

Enjoy tonight’s game.

My team, your team, OUR TEAM