Ice Hockey: NO REST FOR BUSY GIANTS; GIANTS V PANTHERS (TOMORROW) Crazy Match Schedule Sees Belfast Clash with Arch Rivals Once Again

The Mirror (London, England), November 20, 2001 | Go to article overview

Ice Hockey: NO REST FOR BUSY GIANTS; GIANTS V PANTHERS (TOMORROW) Crazy Match Schedule Sees Belfast Clash with Arch Rivals Once Again


Byline: NIGEL RNGLAND

ONCE more onto the breech dear friends - could be Belfast Giants coach Dave Whistle's rallying cry to his team before tomorrow night's Superleague game against the Nottingham Panthers.

It will be the Giants 28th match of the season and due to the eccentric scheduling of games by the league the Giants may find themselves completing their season by Christmas.

No other team has played more than 24 games and second place Ayr, for some reason, will have had 13 days off when they next play on Saturday.

Suddenly they'll have five games to make up on Belfast.

Initially the Giants had asked for tomorrow night's game with the Panthers to be put back until Friday.

The reason for the request was that the advanced ticket sales for Friday's original game against Newcastle stood at over 5,000.

With Newcastle thrown out of the league, and for the good of the game, the Panthers were asked to reschedule.

They wouldn't because first they used the excuse of a home game on Saturday and then when it looked like they would be forced to move the game they suddenly remembered they have a book launch on Friday.

This season's Superleague schedule has been an ongoing work in progress.

At various times the Giants, London, Bracknell, Manchester and Ayr have all stepped in to help each other out when a fixture has needed to be fulfilled - one reason the Giants have played so many games.

Just two weekends ago the Giants played Bracknell at the Odyssey on a Saturday night.

Both teams had to travel on the Sunday - the Giants lost in London while guess who reaped the benefit of a travel weary Bees side - yep you've guessed it, the Panthers, who won 8-2.

The result of the Panthers not playing on Friday night has meant Bracknell being asked to make the trip and another game from later in the season being pulled forward.

So much for all the teams pulling in the same direction at a time when the sport badly needs it.

Off course the best way to get the message of ice hockey across is through the media.

At the Odyssey the pressroom is opposite the changing rooms and is equipped with half a dozen phone lines that visiting journalists and officials can use.

General Manager of the Panthers, Gary Moran, or as he refers to himself, GM The GM, uses these facilities regularly on his trips to Belfast. …

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