During my time with Chasing the Puck one thing has always interested me above everything else and that is Para Hockey (Sledge Hockey).
The whole sport began as a mystery to me, I didn’t know anything about how the games were played, where the games were played and more importantly who could play the sport to begin with and that’s when I met the Manchester Mayhem and my questions were answered.
From the first moment I crept toward the locker room like a nervous young lad I was openly welcomed by Rob Allen and then by the legend that is Karl Nicholson. From there I met the rest of the characters that make up the roster, yes characters, every single person that plays for the Manchester team is a law unto themselves.
From the streaking goalkeeper to the fingerless magician, from too smooth to the Neuroscientist every single player has a backstory that a Marvel superhero would be proud of and together they are the greatest group of people I have ever had the honor to meet and now I can finally say that they are beginning to get the recognition that they deserve in the sport after the Manchester Storm announced that they would be partnering with them.
I managed to get a few words with the immortal Peter Hagan, Coach and general top bloke;
Hi Pete, how do you think that this will help the Manchester Mayhem going forward?
Hopefully this will help promote both squads, but for us at the Mayhem we are hoping that new fans and players could be brought in to the sport to help it grow.
Does this merger mean that you will be playing and practicing at Altrincham?
At present nothing will change in regards of ice times and training, we will still be at Widnes, as Altrincham is so busy. Maybe one day… If anyone would like to build us more rinks!
Does this mean that you will finally have the kits and gear that you deserve?
We have a few things we are chatting about with the Manchester Storm, many are their ideas… They’ve really come to us committed to helping us, so hopefully that will help with fundraising and reaching new people. A portion of the 50/50 tickets sold at Manchester Storm games will go to the Mayhem, our games will still be free. Only things that people would be paying for is any raffles, tombola etc would run on our games separately.
How soon will all the effects take place?
We’re not 100% on the timescales and such as everything is still early days but hopefully it will all be fairly soon.
Any thoughts you and the players have, worries or such?
We’ve no worries, after meeting with Ryan Finnerty & Liam Hesketh a few weeks ago initially, they’ve kept in touch and any questions or worries they went through and no hidden agendas, no ulterior motives, they just want to grow the sport and get roots in the community for hockey in general.
Will Darren Pomfret stop pumping?
As for Darren, we can’t raise enough for that surgery!
I want to thank Pete for his time and for the information that he gave me, if you are yet to witness the Manchester Mayhem or any of the other teams in the British Para Hockey League the playoffs are taking place:
Saturday 29th Sept at 11:15am and the following day on Sunday 30th Sept at 7.15pm
SilverBlades Ice Rink Widnes
all tickets are completely free and there will be numerous activities to get involved in on the day, please go and show your support and remember if you like what you see you can always get down to one of your local clubs and participate in a training session!
One day Pete will remember to bring me some gear and I can try… One day!!!