"Where are they now?" - Manchester Menace

Thursday, 3rd February 2005

Forget Paws and even Steeler Dan - without a doubt, everybody’s favourite team mascot from last season was Phoenix’s very own Manchester Menace! Who can forget some of his more memorable match night pranks, such as washing the windows of the sin bin and his hilarious dance routines, guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of even the toughest players? Not to mention the mobile kiss-cam he took to Sheffield!

But just what does a Menace get up to during the off-season?

Armed with this and several other questions, I tracked down the man behind the Menace, Jason Curran, to seek out the answers and get the inside story on the face-painted one. Direct from his log cabin in the mountains of Western Canada, where temperatures have plummeted to minus thirty degrees Celsius, the Menace came out of hibernation just long enough to satisfy my curiosity!

Diane Daley - So Jason, what have you been doing since you went home to Canada?

Jason Curran - After hanging up the chicken, I returned home to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I spent some time regaling my friends and family with stories of UK ice hockey and then I quickly began work as a public affairs specialist for a large organization in Edmonton. My fellow employees didn't seem to mind my face paint!

DD - Have you been watching any local hockey teams and have you been tempted to resurrect "The Menace"?

JC - Funny you should ask that. The Edmonton Roadrunners of the AHL began their inaugural season this year. While I have yet to catch a match, I gave it some serious thought of ringing up the General Manager to ask if he'd be interested in a Menace bootie shake or two. But I'm just not sure North American fans would be ready for the potential 'Menace mayhem.' And besides, too many people know me in my hometown!

DD - What's this I hear about your plans to enter the Canada Iron Man Race in British Columbia this summer? Tell us about how you became involved, about the race itself and what preparations and training you've been doing.

JC - Ah yes, the Canada Iron Man. The Canada Iron Man race in Penticton is one of the toughest athletic events anywhere. Racers are greeted with a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km bike ride and a 42km (marathon) run to finish off. After a couple of years of road bicycle racing, I decided to try something different.

Since September 2004, I've 'enjoyed' waking up at 4:30 a.m. almost every morning! I cycle, in the snow, to the pool for swim training at 5:45 a.m. and then cycle up to work. On top of that, I now run a few times a week, as well as participate in several indoor bike training sessions.

So far no injuries apart from the bruises on my hips from falling off my bike on the cold, icy journeys to and from work.

DD - How do you think you will do in the actual race?

JC - To tell you the truth, I'm really just focused on finishing the race. The impending bodily punishment will be similar to sliding into the boards at full speed on my knees, I'm sure. As well, I'm praying the face paint doesn't wash off in the water!

DD - Do you have any plans to return to the UK in the future?

JC - I certainly hate to say never. I'd love to return to the UK if the right opportunity presented itself. I really enjoyed my time there!

DD - What do you miss most about Manchester and being "The Menace"?

JC - I appreciate that this sounds a bit corny, but I really do miss the people of Manchester. Oh, and I long for some more of that treacle toffee!

Believe it or not, I also really miss strapping on all that gear. Each and every time I put on the Menace uniform, I'd experience a tremendous rush. Most of all though, I miss hanging out with all the kids. And I think my dancing ability has suffered since I left Manchester!

DD - What happened to your famous Rubber Chicken?

JC - As far as I can remember, I think I gave it to a young Phoenix fan at Finals Weekend, 2004. I remember saying to myself that I'd never need it again, so why not give it away, I thought. Besides, it was a fairly sickly looking chicken after I was done with it...I hope it has a good home now.

DD - Have you been following the fortunes of our players from last season and have you kept in touch with any of them?

JC - I have periodically followed the on-ice exploits of George Awada, Jayme Platt and the rest of the Phoenix players. It's nice to see that pretty well everyone found an arena to call home. I've also been in touch with Dave Kozier and Petteri Lotila via e-mail and they're both doing very well. One of my good friends from my hometown is playing on the same Finnish squad as Mika Skytta.

DD - Finally, do you have a message for the Manchester Phoenix fans?

JC - Well, what can I say? I want to once again thank every fan for their kind words and amazing support throughout last season. There are many people this side of the Atlantic Ocean who are now fully aware of the tremendous spirit of Manchester ice hockey fans.

And I want to say a great big HELLO to all the young fans!!

Hmmm...I'm forgetting something. Oh yes! Once you've gone Menace you never go back!!!

It was a pleasure to hear what the Menace had to say for himself and naturally, we will be keeping a very close check on his participation in the Canada Iron Man Race, which takes place on Sunday 28th August.

by Diane Daley.