GM review - 5th Nov

Monday, 6th November 2006

Hi everyone,

Another tough week for the Phoenix on the ice with back-to-back losses to the Blaze. We thought there would be fireworks and indeed there were. Saturday night, the game in Deeside was accompanied outside by an astonishing Guy Fawkes firework display that fizzed and banged along almost in synchonised timing with the drummers. And then on Sunday, a bad hit on Johan saw Robin mete out some retribution on Reid Simonton ahead of Mr Boniface ejecting both from the Skydome proceedings.
Through in the extra injuries we picked up and you can see it wasn't the best of weekends at all. But, we learn from the lessons of adversity and whilst we might not be able to impact the knowledge we gain from such lessons, we store those facts for future use at the right time.
One of the things we learn't, we already knew and that is that Rome wasn't built in a day. Whilst we've had some excellent results so far and we've made into the semi-final draw for the Challenge Cup, we've got a long way to go to build our club into a similar position to that of Coventry. I'm not saying the Blaze are the model we should try and mirror image, I'm merely suggesting that the time and effort they have invested since they moved from Solihull and the Barons to Coventry and the Blaze into building their club from new and firmly planted foundations is paying dividends for them. The kind of dividends that we will aim for over the coming years once our foundations - in the shape of the Ice Dome - are finished and settled. Once the building is there and open, the Phoenix club, not just the Elite League team, can really kick into gear and grow for and into the future.
Injuries, injuries, injuries - the plague of a contact sport. It doesn't matter what the nature of the injuries are, you know that hockey players don't fake or milk them. We lost guys last weekend to real pain but they all, and I mean all, wanted to play. Common sense and medical advise prevented them from doing so, and potentially causing more serious injury, but the willingness to put team before self is admirable. There is a saying... "there is no I in team..." and our guys truly don't know the meaning of I. They are special people and richly deserving our your incredible and awesome support.
And speaking of support leads me to something a tad controversial. Last season, there was some debate as to things said or insinuated toward Theo Fleury in Coventry. Now banter between fans is almost universally expected and indeed on many ocassions is something to look forward to. However, there is a section of the fans in Skydome who appear to have taken 'banter' to a different level as there were some comments aimed at our players that were shall we say were, below the belt. The proximity of fans to players in ice hockey is one of the great things about our game, but it has to remain sensible, clean and funny rather than objectionable, insulting and downright inflammatory.
When we get into our own Ice Dome, we want fans of whatever persuasion to attend and enjoy the great game of ice hockey and I would hope, and indeed know right now, that Phoenix fans will treat all visiting players and fans with respect and good humour, whilst engaging in good-natured friendly banter.
The weekend coming sees the Phoenix on the road twice - initially to a true road game in Edinburgh against the Capitals, and then to Ice Sheffield and the next battle in the never-ending War of the Roses. If you can't make the long journey to Scotland, we look forward to seeing and hearing you all in Ice Sheffield next Sunday.
Have a good week.