The Cardiff Devils treated their fans to a double signing on Friday, announcing the return of forwards Sean Bentivoglio and Jake Morissette.
The two forwards have been huge parts of the Devils success over the year, with Morissette returning for his sixth year in South Wales, after serving as team captain for the past two seasons, and will wear the ‘C’ again in 2018/19.
Rick Rypien. Wade Belak. Derek Boogaard. Steve Montador. Top line athletes, that all died at the height of their careers. Hockey is an intense sport, physically and mentally. With the current scale of the NHL, the need to perform consistently and flawlessly must be intense. Pressure can lead to stress, fatigue; isolation and travelling can lead to depression. It’s no wonder that the NHL has one of the worst cocaine problems in professional sport.
I truly believe that from the moment you buy your first hockey ticket, or tune into your first game, you become something much greater than yourself. You become part of a global family of hockey lovers who are passionate about the sport they love, they care for each other and when everything feels like it might just be falling apart? They rally round and prove to you that you are never alone.
With playoff weekend in the Elite League almost upon us, I took to Facebook to ask some veterans of the event what advice they’d give a newbie. I got some interesting answers!
“Bunkers is a must. Take selfies with the mascots outside. Enjoy the festival atmosphere. Make friends with some Fife fans and watch in awe as the Braehead fans have the time of their lives!” – Sarah Cutts
“Think you will have a great time the atmosphere is unreal the whole hockey family under one roof even if your team’s not there everyone has great time, magic weekend.” – Leslie Harrison
“There are three bars around the arena – saltbox, bunkers and legend. All within walking distance of the city. Subway is across the road and town is 5 mins walk to all the pubs for food. Just have a laugh, sing songs, talk to fans, and just remember what happens in Nottingham will be all over Facebook on Monday hehehe missed 1 play offs weekend since Wembley days! Love the whole weekend!” – Kellie Langdown
Sounds family friendly right? I’m taking in the Saturday with my five year old daughter Sophia, so I’m limited in terms of what I can do.
You however, might not be taking a child with you. So here are the more ‘grown up’ suggestions I got.
“If you think you’re as drunk as you can possibly be, find Brian Stewart and prove yourself incredibly wrong 😂 Stewie Watch is a must.” – Hollz Cooper
“Go to Bunkers, drink lots, speak to everyone, have an amazing time and drink champagne for breakfast, that’s what I do!” – Gail Mallarky
If someone was to ask me which Elite League team I supported; I don’t think I could answer them. I love hockey. I support hockey in this country. In my time as a hockey fan in the UK, I suppose you could say I’ve supported most of the teams who play here. I try and raise my daughter the same way. She is the next generation of paying fan and I believe it’s important to give those children an open and positive attitude towards the game from the very first day.