I have been a fan of ice hockey since my first years of schooling. I will always remember my brother receiving his first ice hockey game for the Sega Genesis a long time ago, and how that was the catalyst for the many years of my interest. Residing in the United Kingdom means the publicity and interest in the sport is limited, and it was not until my 21st Birthday that I actually attended a game of ice hockey at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Altrincham to watch the Manchester Phoenix.
It is disappointing that ice hockey is not considered a popular sport in the United Kingdom, as the players are fast paced and there is never much milling around. There never seems to be a boring game and with the inclusion of body checks and big shots on the net it keeps you on the edge of your seat. The skills of the skaters are also impressive to watch as they stay on their feet whilst fighting off defenders and controlling the puck in an attempt to score. Each rush on goal is as hard fought as the next until that final buzzer.
Despite the lack of national support in the United Kingdom, the ice rink spectator seats become very filled out with local supporters. The fan support is incredible considering my old assumptions that it was not popular at all. It was good to see the sport getting the recognition it deserves. The fans generate an atmosphere around the game at hand, without the abusive chants or unnecessary comments you might hear at a football match, with this in mind it makes it an excellent sport to watch live.
If you ever find yourself in Manchester for a few days that happen to coincide with a Manchester Phoenix game I recommend that you go and watch. Ice hockey is a fantastic sport and the quality of play and gamesmanship shown by the players makes it well worthwhile. Tickets can be bought on the team's website, at only £14.70 it is hard to complain.You can also view how the team is faring and the latest news surrounding them on the site.
For more information surrounding the venue, you can look at the Silver Blades website, here.