Saturday November 24th – Slough Jets Programme

Good evening and welcome to the Hangar for the second home and away weekend in a row. Last weekend we had an unsuccessful weekend points wise against the Guildford Flames, this weekend we’ll be hoping to overcome a Phantoms team who visit us Saturday and who we visit Sunday.

Last week I wrote clearing up (I thought) the confusion in the tables regarding the MK away game on November 7th. I went through the communication from the league surrounding the fixture issue and confirmed that the fixture was showing in schedule as a league game with December 16th showing as the league/cup game however (at the time of writing this) we are still waiting for confirmation from the league. Emails have been sent back and forward and what I thought was quite simple to resolve is proving far less simple than that. We will keep you updated on this. From my point of view it is essential to get this sorted out sooner rather than later as it’s not good for the teams, their supporters nor the league.

For the Guildford Flames game last Saturday we were in the position of having a two man officiating system. That means this season we have seen four officials, three officials and now just two. The two men allocated to the game were left in a no win situation I think. For a senior hockey game, played at high pace and intensity it’s tough to know where to stand as an official as with just two officials both are responsible for penalty calls, off side calls and of course judging the legality of goals scored. In junior hockey, where the pace is slower this is an often used system but it’s not really well suited for EPL hockey. The strange thing is that another game, in the same league, taking place 60 miles away had a four man system. Now in my head the 2 from here plus the 4 from the other game makes 6, which divided by the two fixtures means both games could (and probably should) have had 3 men systems.

I’m all for advancing the sport and if the 4 man system does that then I’d like to see it introduced. However I’d like to see it introduced only when there are enough EPL officials available to ensure every game can take place using the same officiating arrangements. Swapping between 2 referee and 2 linesmen to 1 referee and 2 linesmen just isn’t fair as it can effect the way the game is called, and therefore the way it is played. If the 4 man system is to be used then it has to be used for all fixtures so players (and fans) can get used to the way a game runs.

Considering the situation they were put in the two officials on Saturday did the best job they could. They did miss penalties and off-side calls but they were in a difficult situation and as two men completely in charge of a senior game between two big teams they did the best they could.

Next weekend we play the Sheffield Steeldogs here at the Hangar and there’s a chance to skate with the team after the game so make sure you tell your friends and bring them along with you next Saturday.

Enjoy tonight’s game

My team, your team, OUR TEAM