The proposal for a “Magic 5 Weekend” is the sort of idea that can pleased or annoy the fans of the Elite League in our coronavirus stricken land – but it has the potential to be a winner.
Seeing it first put forward by Jono Bullard, Panthers fan and freelance broadcaster, it was an idea that had a lot of merit as fans get used to the idea of not having the play-off finals to look forward to.
So the announcement by the league that they’re already looking ahead to when we can resume our normal lives is one that should definitely be welcomed.
In this instance, it’s been designed to replace the play-offs, but who’s not to say that it cannot be used in the future as a curtain raiser for a new season?
There are so many facets and little details that need ironed out, but can you imagine a weekend, all under one roof, where Nottingham play Sheffield, Glasgow take on Fife, Cardiff resume their rivalry with Coventry for example?
Time to look for pro-active solutions with regards to league & club cash-flow.
Have an @officialEIHL ‘Magic Weekend’ to start the season in Nottingham, all 10 teams involved (3 games Saturday, 2 games Sunday). This seasons POFW tickets become valid for this new event.
— Jono Bullard (@JonoBullard) March 13, 2020
The fixtures will be worked on in due course and there are other match-ups that could be every bit as mouth watering looking ahead, but the potential behind it shouldn’t be underestimated.
The Challenge Cup final only really caters for the two teams involved and the play-off weekend has its own charm of a mini tournament to pull the curtain down on a season.
This provides something different in the context of the regular season and a chance for fans of all teams to come together and celebrate the start of the campaign, as they do at the end.
Right now, it’s exactly what we need to look forward to as the country becomes more and more crippled by the effects of the coronavirus and, as we know, sport all over is affected by it.
Football’s Euro 2020 tournament has been postponed until 2021, which has a knock on effect for the Women’s equivalent competition. The Olympic Games in Tokyo are still on, for now, but it seems to be more and more likely it won’t survive.
There’s also the possibility of it being able to take it to different arenas too, if it suits the calendar and the hosts.
Cynics out there are already complaining that it’s not the play-off weekend they were expecting. All I can say is, what were you expecting? We’re living in unprecedented times and we’re seeing unprecedented things happen.
There is a refund option for those who bought tickets for the play-off weekend who choose not to go so it’s not like they’re being forced to take up this option.
But at least it’s some kind of forward thinking and while you can criticise the league for a manner of things, they’ve been on the ball through this crisis and this is the latest evidence of it.
Once all the details are sorted and more information is released of when it will exactly happen, it can start a new dawn in the Elite League where another showpiece event takes place that helps promote our game in the best possible light.
After all, it’s better than nothing.