Steroplast were invited to attend Saturday's Manchester Storm match against the Dundee Stars. The night itself was a particularly special one as it was all in aid of The Christie charity. Located in Withington, The Christie is one of the largest cancer treatment centres in Europe. It is an international leader in cancer research and development.
Manchester Storm - Pink the Rink
As The Christie is a registered charity it relies heavily on help and donations from the public. The Storm first teamed up with them in 2015 to help raise funds and support the Manchester based centre. The pink ribbon is the symbol of cancer awareness across the world, so last weekends game was appropriately named 'Pink the Rink' night.
The team wore specially designed pink jerseys during the game - which will be sold off for £200 each with all funds going to The Christie. There was also fundraising activities to participate in throughout the night, with special Pink the Rink t-shirts on sale. The supporters got into the spirit of the night with many people wearing fancy dress, pink clothing, wigs and face paint.
What to expect from a night at the hockey
Some of the Steroplast team who went to Saturday's game have seen the Storm before when they played their games at the Manchester Arena years ago. However, for some it was their first taste of live ice hockey and they didn’t know what to expect!
The good news for those who had been fans years ago was that nothing has changed as far as excitement and fun goes. And for newbies, it opened their eyes into seeing what a great night out a visit to the 'Storm Shelter' really is.
The games are predominantly played over the weekend and the atmosphere is fantastic. It's the perfect family friendly experience. There is so much going on and there is never a dull moment. When you're not cheering on the team with chants, drums and horns, there is dancing, singing and games to be played during the three periods. One thing we did notice was the relationship between the home and away fans. There is no animosity whatsoever; the fans mingle together happily and just have a respect for a mutual love of ice hockey. This relaxed attitude is refreshing to see and great to be part of.
What was the result?
Well, we literally couldn't have picked a better game to watch as it had everything, and we mean everything! However, we were not so enthusiastic during the 1st period! The Manchester Storm had a terrible start with the Dundee Stars finishing 3-0 up. Goals coming from Adam Harding, Taylor Dickin and Marc-Olivier Mimar (Adam and Taylor both former Storm players).
However, this is where things got good! Just 5 minutes into the 2nd period Scott Pitt scored for the Storm, which got the crowd back onside. When Luke Moffat scored in the 36th minute the atmosphere was electric. It got louder and louder and the game got a lot more intense, in fact at one point a huge brawl broke out between many players (which is a standard occurrence in ice hockey games......I know!) and the fans loved it!
With just 2 minutes of the game left the Storm fans were willing the puck into the goal, and their prayers were answered. Mike Hammond fired home and forced the game into overtime, yes overtime! Apparently, there are no draws in ice hockey.
With nobody able to break the deadlock during overtime the game then went to penalties - this couldn't be more exciting at this point. So, players took their positions, with only one managing to convert their penalty - thankfully it was Storm's very own Ciaran Long! What a game, the Storm won taking the 2 points and keeping their position at the top of the league.
Will we go again?
Duh...............of course we will! Everybody at Steroplast loved it and had a great night. Those who had previously watched the Storm at the Arena were bitten again by the ice hockey bug. Those who had never been before will be back again.
When asked what they thought, Melissa, who'd never been before, said; "I'll definitely come again, but next time I'll get the Metrolink, I didn't realise it would be such a good night". Paul, who used to watch the Storm at Arena said; "The game was brilliant and the atmosphere was so addictive, it really makes for an amazing night".
If you're thinking of going to see the Storm and dipping your toe into the world of ice hockey, you definitely should. You can find the season's fixture list and buy your tickets for the games at www.ManchesterStorm.com.