By Steven Oldham
Manchester Phoenix and Trafford Metros hosted a unique game of ice hockey this weekend at Altrincham’s Ice Dome.
The two sister teams came together for an ‘All Star’ game combining the two teams to raise money for the Community Sports Foundation. The charity helps communities become more active by being involved in sports.
Prior to the game, the club ran a ‘Fantasy Phoenix’ contest to determine the captains of the teams. Lucky fans Adam and Darren won, and picked their team from the pool of Phoenix and Metros players.
When asked why the game came about, Foundation Specialist Pete Hagan explained: “We had a gap in the calendar after our game against Sheffield was rearranged. We’ve wanted to have a special game like this for a while, and we didn’t want to leave the Ice Dome unused so this seemed the perfect opportunity.”
A unique game was devised between both Phoenix and the Metros. The first and third sections of the game would follow the traditional rules, but the second would be altered to incorporate a range of challenges, including ‘Hardest Shot’, ‘Fastest Skater (forwards and backwards)’ and a ‘Shot Accuracy’ test.
Mr Hagan explained: “This game is a good chance to see the players letting their hair down and having fun. It’s not often the fans can see a game like this without the pressure of the Premier League.”
Phoenix are on their way to a first English Premier League title in only their second year in the league. With two games remaining they are top of the league and four points clear of nearest rivals, the Guildford Flames.
Jack Wilson, 31, of Altrincham, took his two children Charlotte, 9, and Jacob, 6, to the game. It was the first time they’d been to an ice hockey game. He said: “We all really enjoyed the game. The kids liked the challenges and I was surprised how fast the action happens. We only live ten minutes away so I think we’ll come back.”
Players represented both teams and even though it was a friendly, it wasn’t long before a competitive atmosphere broke out. Scraps, goals and unique celebrations followed – with three players celebrating a placed shot with a hot dog from rink side.
The Ice Dome audience lapped up the game, and when asked if there is a possibility of another such game, possibly in preseason, Mr Hagan responded: “We hope so. It’s a brilliant opportunity for the club to show a lighter side and encourage more people to try out ice hockey.”