Five Things We Learned: Record attendances and the need for trousers

Fly DSA Arena's 9,200 attendance for a game last season won't be seen for some time (PHOTO: Dan Addy)

After a week off last week, we’re back with our biggest takes from the week just gone as we highlight the weird and the wonderful of life in British Ice Hockey.

1. Steelers and record attendances

No matter who you’re playing and how low you set the prices, an attendance of over 9,000 at an ice hockey game in the UK is something worth applauding.

Sheffield Steelers managed to pull in 9,200 into the Fly DSA Arena on Saturday as they strengthened their grip at the top of the table with a 6-2 win over Guildford Flames.

Sustaining it is the next challenge of course, but one thing Steelers do well is try to attract new fans to the club and the sport and there’s no reason why they can’t do that again this season.  Well done everyone.

Just to be clear, this isn’t referee Richard Belfitt, but we imagine his reaction is the same

2. Always be prepared

One thing your mum always tells you is to always be prepared, but unfortunately for referee Richard Belfitt, he didn’t heed that warning when he turned out for Sunday’s NIHL game with Peterborough Phantoms and Telford Tigers without his.

The game eventually began 15 minutes later than scheduled as a replacement pair were sourced, sparing Richard having to ref the game in his pants, according to Phantoms’ Twitter feed, as was the punishment in school back in the day for forgetting your equipment.

So the moral of the story and one Richard will never forget now is to always be prepared.

Nottingham Panthers are back in Denmark this weekend for the Continental Cup final group (PHOTO: Panthers Images)

3. Panthers ready for Europe again

It’s Continental Cup Final week and the Nottingham Panthers are again on their travels, returning to Denmark for the group stage where Sønderjyske, Neman Grodno and Krakow all lie in wait for them.

Tim Wallace’s side are hoping to emulate what Corey Neilson’s team did in 2017 and go there on a run of form of one defeat in their last seven as they try to break into the top four.

If anyone knows the path to European success, it’s Nottingham and with the possibility of a place in next year’s CHL up for grabs, Panthers will be ready for the challenge ahead this weekend.

Brendan Connolly’s fantastic streak of points in consecutive league games finally ended on Sunday, but it was a great run (PHOTO: Al Goold)

4. All good things…

It was an extraordinary run of form that saw Sheffield Steelers forward Brendan Connolly pick up at least a point in each of his last 21 games, a run which ended against former team Glasgow Clan on Sunday.

Bear in mind, Connolly’s last action for Glasgow was to go off with a serious knee injury last season, he’s come back in top form and is proving to be an excellent addition for Aaron Fox’s side as they aim for title glory.

Sadly, the impressive run is at an end, but like all good players, he’ll shrug it off and go again as Steelers look to the next couple of months ahead and what could lie in wait for them.

Fife Flyers’ poor run continued as they tumbled outside the play-off places (PHOTO: Flyers Images)

5. The play-off battle is hotting up

The race for the top eight gets more and more interesting with every round of games and we’re seeing quite the picture developing at the bottom end of the Elite League table.

Fife’s losses over the weekend has seen them tumble into the bottom two places, while Manchester’s two results over Guildford then Cardiff has lifted them above the Flyers.

Add to that the fact Dundee Stars have won four of their last six and things are looking better for them.  Oh and Glasgow Clan, just four points ahead of the cut-off.  It’s a long, long way to go.

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