Not so quick on the draw
Watching the FreeSports coverage of the play-in game last week, I couldn’t help but think the Elite League had missed a real opportunity.
The game, that saw Manchester Storm overcome Coventry Blaze to claim a place in the quarter final of the competition confirmed the eight teams who would take part.
Post game, you had the usual analysis and interviews with Aaron Murphy and Paul Adey, but what should have followed was a draw for the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup.
A chance where all the teams concerned could sit down and watch it all unfolding live and even try and get one or two reactions from the coaches. A real build-up to the knockout stage.
None of that was there and instead what we had was the Elite League media posting the pre-recorded videos by the coaches indicating who their choices were, as per the ‘pick your opponent’ format. These videos didn’t make it on air.
I can’t help thinking another great opportunity to create some drama was missed and I’m left to wonder why this element of the competition is so often let down.
WATCH: Seth Bennett, a bag for life and pool balls
He won’t thank me for reminding him of this, but who can forget my former colleague, Seth Bennett, overseeing a draw using a shopping bag and pool balls?
Other than the fans, they managed to annoy a couple of poor guys who left their pound coin on the table for a game of pool, but couldn’t get a game.
Then last year, after taking on the media role – and for the record, I actually felt sorry for Luke Fisher on this – but a very poor quality video where the GMs and owners announced their opponents. Mysteriously, that one seems to have vanished.
I’m not exempt from this either. I had a go myself when the Scottish teams, including Edinburgh Capitals all played in a pre-season Scottish Elite Cup. Incidentally, if you watch the video, you should know that nobody actually paid my ransom.
For some reason, draws just aren’t done well in the Elite League and instead of helping to create some excitement, it actually makes a laughing stock. What is so wrong with putting eight balls, not pool or snooker balls, into a bag and drawing them out?
WATCH: The Scottish Elite Cup draw. Even Rod Stewart couldn’t liven this one up.
Scottish Elite Cup draw 2017
Posted by Elite Ice Hockey League on Sunday, 6 August 2017
My dislike for the ‘Pick your Opponent’ system is not something I hide, but surely the spectre of anticipation is what makes a draw much more exciting. The uncertainty of who you might get or avoid. The magic of the cup as it were.
With ‘picking’, you have an idea of who the top seeds are likely to pick, although Guildford surprised a few people by taking Nottingham. Plus Dundee announced weeks ago they wanted to play Glasgow Clan so one tie was already assured.
I’m not going to go as far as to say the league are blundering with something so simple, but they are making it much more difficult than it needs to be.
All it needs is Aaron Murphy or Chris Ellis hosting things, the league’s Director of Hockey, Mike Hicks overseeing things and a couple of guests. Number the teams one to eight, never mind seeding and make the draw. How easy is that?
It’s a simple format that works so well in other sports in other tournaments, but it gives FreeSports something of a boost in their TV audience. It’s a winning combo. Is that so difficult?
Flyers and their different night out
You may have seen the piece I wrote at the end of last week about Fife Flyers and their live Hockey Show, held in one of the venues in Kirkcaldy.
It was fascinating to see, especially in an age where clubs rely heavily on social media to engage with their fans and to me, Fife came up with something totally new and old in its concept.
No fancy videos or graphics, no filming from the event itself and interacting with fans on a human level. A great idea and one that’s been regarded as an out and out success.
I live a couple of hours away from Fife so the chance of going along on a school night was a tall order, but from what I’ve seen and heard from those who were there, it was a really good night.
As a result, they’ve got a second one being planned now, possibly in the New Year so if you missed this one, get yourself along to the next one.
I’m used to seeing the usual barrage of tweets from disgruntled fans after a game, blaming referees and officials for bad decisions that may have contributed to a bad defeat. Par for the course in that line of work.
But when one “fan” goes to the bother of creating a petition, demanding the removal of one ref from the Elite League then you have to wonder why they bother going?
Refs aren’t perfect. They’ll say that themselves and they’ll admit they get things wrong. It doesn’t make them any worse than any of the rest of us. It’s called being human.
I’m giving this ridiculous petition, demanding Stefan Hogarth to be sacked, more column inches than I should, but it makes me angry that people are so fixated on refs that they stoop to this level of stupidity.
Therefore, I would urge the creator of this waste of time to do one of two things. Take a ref’s course and see if you could do the job any better or stop going, if you gets you so wound up.
When I checked the petition, 22 hours after it was created, a staggering 33 people had signed it and the less said about the quite frankly abusive comments, the better.
If you don’t like it, don’t go. Referees are part of the game. Whether good, bad or indifferent and this kind of thing doesn’t help.