GM's review

Tuesday, 17th October 2006

Hi everybody,

Another two points last weekend in something of a nail-biter against the Bison in what was a tremendous atmosphere in Deeside. The noise and support for the team is fantastic, so much so I'm thinking of buying shares in Strepsils as you lot must have terrible sore throats after all that chanting and singing - brilliant!

I'm sure everyone who was there enjoyed the game against the Bison, and especially the netminding duel between Wolfie and Nick Boucher. Both of them were simply outstanding and whilst it's not unheard of for both goalies to be voted as Man of the Match, I think it's been a long time since I've seen such intensity from two guys at opposite ends of the ice.

The game was also played in a terrific spirit, both on and off the ice and I'll let you in on a little secret. Before the game, we interviewed Bison forward Brad Cruikshank for TV purposes and advised him that if he were voted Man of the Match he'd be required after the game for a further interview. Now as you know, Brad disagreed somewhat with a refereeing decision by Moray Hanson and was subsequently thrown out of the game. Brad was a tad irritated and, shall we say, vented his anger in the locker room passageway. But a few minutes later, having showered, got dressed and calmed down, he joined me at ice level. As he stood there adjusting his baseball cap, he burst out laughing when I (jokingly) accused him of... "doing anything to avoid the TV cameras."

Now to the weekend coming, and the Phoenix need you even more as we're back in Ice Sheffield for an 8.15pm face-off against the Panthers. As I noted in my chat with Richard, back in September, we had to beg, borrow and practically steal ice time from wherever to keep our 'home' fixtures in line with the original listing and sadly that meant the late start time on Sunday.

We are only too aware of the problem this timing gives fans, particularly those with children desparate to see the Phoenix playing, and we wish it were otherwise but the alternative of postponing the game to a date later in the season was not an option we could consider, and given their scheduling problems too, the Panthers didn't want a postponement either.

Away from the ice and the actual above-ground work on the Altrincham Ice Dome is now under way. The first load of steelwork arrived last weekend and in a few days time, extremely visible evidence of the building will be there for all to see. As those uprights reach skywards and the the building finally begins to take shape, the final countdown for the first 'true' home game is ready to begin.

A few people asked me last weekend about whose new building will open first, ours or the project in Cardiff. Quite simply and honestly, I don't know. The two buildings, whilst of similar capacity, are significantly different in design and construction. Ours is a steel facility while the Cardiff rink is a timber-frame construction. Looking at photos on various websites, the Cardiff scheme would appear to be some way ahead of ours, but my understanding is that our facility will catch up in terms of simpler initial construction processes and that the modular design of a lot of the interior fixtures and fittings will also help us make our new dateline. At the end of the day, it is not a race between ourselves and Cardiff - if their building is ready before ours then that's great for the Devils and the public of South Wales, if not, then we can sympathise with them as our situations whilst different are not dissimilar.

Have a good week and rest your vocal chords for next Sunday !!

Andy C.