Hey now, you’re an all-star

Well, that was the weekend that was, the third annual UK Forum All-Star weekend that this year took place in Cardiff. For those that don’t know the event is staged to raise money for charity, this year the recipient’s were Dreams Come True, Breast Cancer Care, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Cardiff Devils Community Foundation and all had hockey teams representing each of them, I was with the Dreams Come True team and was honoured to be named as captain.

Before all the hockey though there was a charity auction in aid of all four causes held at Future Inn in Cardiff on Friday night. This raised over £300 with lots including a game worn Mark Richardson GB shirt and a signed Wayne Gretzky photograph. Then is was of into the centre of Cardiff for a few drinks and laughs.

Saturday was the first game day and started with a barbecue at the rink where everyone involved could have a chat about the action to come over a burger, great pre-match food if I may say so. At 5.00 it was time for the action to start as Breast Cancer Care took on Dreams Come True. The format this year was that every team would play each other in a one 25 minute period running clock game, the top two teams going on to contest Sunday’s final while third and fourth would play in a play-off for third/fourth place (obviously!) The great thing about the games was that every team had a complete mix of abilities from complete beginners to ENL players, it was great to see the better players on a line with the newbies and encouraging them all the way. Everyone was enjoying themselves on the ice during the games, but for the record the results were as follows:

Breast Cancer Care 0-3 Dreams Come True
Marie Curie Cancer Care 2-3 Devils Community Foundation
Dreams Come True 3-2 Marie Curie Cancer Care
Breast Cancer Care 0-4 Devils Community Foundation
Breast Cancer Care 1-2 Marie Curie Cancer Care
Dreams Come True 2-2 Devils Community Foundation

This meant that Marie Curie would face Breast Cancer Care in the 3rd/4th place play-off and Devils Community Trust would face Dreams Come True in the battle of the unbeaten teams in the following day’s final. A tired bunch of players left the big blue tent for a few drinks in Cardiff and a well earned good night’s sleep!

Sunday meant we had a few hours to kill before the hockey started again, so a few of us went into Cardiff. The Welsh capital has been heavily face lifted in recent years, not only the developments down by Cardiff Bay but also extensive renovation of the City Centre. I have to say the centre of Cardiff if quite superb, plenty of shopping, bars and restaurants, however every time I passed the new John Lewis store I felt a pang of sadness remembering that it was where the old Welsh National Ice Rink once stood.
Four of us decided to take the tour of the fantastic Millennium Stadium, at only £6.50 it was great value for money. I literally felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I walked through the tunnel on to the pitch side. An empty 75,000 arena is a truly awe inspiring sight.

After going back to the hotel for an hours lie down it was off to the rink for the final. The format changed slightly as each game would be two periods of minutes on a running clock. In -the 3rd/4th play-off the tired legs of the short benched Breast Cancer Care team took their toll as Marie Curie took 3rd place with an 8-1 victory.
I gave what I hope was a rousing team talk before the final and we went on to the ice to fight for the trophy. Every single player gave their all in a very close final, but it was the Devils who came through, winning 4-3 in a game where neither side held more than a one goal lead. It was gutting to lose such a close game, but sometimes things happen for a reason. In an ending that wouldn’t be out of place in a Disney weepy, the winning Cardiff goal was scored by 15 year old Sean Phillips. Some may remember that Sean battled against cancer in his early life and it was only fitting that he should score the winner that saw his team take the trophy.

So there ended a fabulous weekend. The best thing is we get to do it all again next year.


1 Response to “Hey now, you’re an all-star”

  1. 1 Mark Phillips August 9, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Jono, Sean had a great time with you all and is still on a high

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