Where To Play?

I was going to write about yet another glorious play-off victory, however I feel I cannot improve on Paul’s excellent article from earlier in the week, therefore I’ve decided to write about an issue that has reared its head since the final, that being the NIC as the venue for the end of season tournament.

It is only since Panthers started winning the play-off title that the NIC’s use has been called into question, apparently now it is too much of a home advantage. Having won just once in the previous 10 play-off weekends before 2011, it wasn’t and was never brought up as an issue.
Perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of this is the constant moaning since Sunday (mainly from Belfast, Cardiff & Sheffield) that having our home locker room and home bench was a main contributing factor in our victory! From where I was sat it was because we were the better team over the weekend, unfortunately the anti-Panthers rhetoric that seems so fashionable these days is very much prevalent (as anyone following my Twitter feed over the weekend would have seen!) and they shout very loudly to anyone who will listen.

Thing is, the wondrous magical properties of the bench & locker room are intermittent, my rec ream used the bench for a game against Bradford in August and lost 10-2! Maybe the magic is turned off over the summer (and home games against Belfast!)

It is a futile argument for those who want the play-offs moved anyway, the contract to keep the weekend at the NIC doesn’t run out until 2016 I believe. Nottingham City Council has also put a significant amount of investment into keeping the weekend in the city. Look at it from their point of view, several thousand hockey fans coming into the city and spending money on hotels, food & beer gives a significant boost to the local economy.

There have been calls to move the weekend to a neutral venue. All I can say to that is forget it; it would cost far too much to put a temporary ice plant down in a venue such as Wembley Arena, MEN Arena, Liverpool Echo Arena or Birmingham’s NIA and we all know the Elite League isn’t exactly flush with cash, so they’re non-starters. You can also forget London’s O2 as some seem to suggest, I’d hate to think how much that place would cost to hire for a weekend. As such the only realistic venues to hold the weekend are Sheffield Arena, Belfast Odyssey & the NIC.

Sheffield Arena has the advantage of ample parking, wide concourses and Centertainment across the road. However the seats are cramped to say the least, the plexi is filthy and it is a long way out of Sheffield City Centre. Personally I think that the NIC is a far superior venue for watching hockey and its location is far better than Sheffield.

I would like to see a Play-Off weekend in Belfast, excellent venue, great city. However the logistics of getting several thousand hockey fans over there would prove tricky as there isn’t finite space on planes & ferries. It could happen but would take a couple of years of planning & organisation.

There has been much criticism that there isn’t enough to do at the weekend. Personally I go for the hockey & the beer but I appreciate that some want more than that, especially those with families. A marquee of stalls and some entertainment would be a welcome addition to Bolero Square in future weekends, but it would obviously depend on cost.

In conclusion the play-offs aren’t going anywhere; they’ll be staying in Nottingham for some considerable time yet, much to the disgust of many if feedback after this last weekend is anything to go by. However I would suggest that if Panthers had not made it or hadn’t won, there would only be a fraction of complaints about the venue.

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35 Responses to “Where To Play?”


  1. 1 Ted April 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Keep it in Nottingham, I can be at home in my own bed within 30 minutes!

  2. 2 Belfast Fan April 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Utter rubbish. You know Panfas only managed to scrape a poxy playoff win because you threw a hussy fit so you got your own bench. Poor wittle Corey couldn’t bare to be parted from his home comforts. Tainted trophies and you know it so just admit it for once.

  3. 7 owenbradley April 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Hi Belfast, let me tell you what actually happened.

    About 30 minutes before warm-up, Cardiff said that as the home team, they should have the home bench. Nottingham agreed to this, which is why the kit got swapped over.

    Unfortunately, no one had given any thought to the issue that the teams would now have have to cross in the corridor. The NIC wasn’t happy with this from a health and safety viewpoint, and the benches swapped back.

    Just so you know. Nothing to do with poor wittle Corey at all.

  4. 9 Phoenix Fan April 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    As a neutral Manchester fan looking from the outside I can see why other fans have a problem with the Dressing room/bench issue. In my view as the NIC on playoff weeking is a neutral venue and Panthers were technically the away team they should have had to take the away facilities. I don’t however think this had any bearing on them winning the playoffs as the best team on the day won. I also remember Nottingham being a great venue and a great weekend from our time in the league. Wish we could still be there as the EPL playoffs in Cov don’t even compare

  5. 10 Lozza April 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I don’t see how people can say panthers only won as it was on their ice!

    Think back to the week before if you may,

    After 2-2 score line in hull, Hull played Sheffield at Sheffield ice! Where if I remember rightly Hull beat Sheffield by quiet a few goals!

    So if ‘home ice’ makes you a winner I put this to you!

    How did a second place team fall by quite alot to seventh place Hull?

  6. 11 Cat April 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    You mean
    *panthers
    *hissy
    *little
    #that is all

  7. 12 Rhino#13 April 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I’ve seen us lose at the NIC so many times when we should have won, trust me, home advantage is no guarantee of the Panthers winning at all !!! I don’t recall Manchester winning it every year when it was at the MEN either. Anyone want to point out the Steelers winning the Challenge Cup numerous times when it was held at their arena ? No ? Funny that.

  8. 13 amberleigh45 April 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Honestly, all these complaints about Panthers winning on home ice,its ridiculous. The only advantage the game held was being the home team and being able to see the lines first. If I remember correctly, that was cardiff wasn’t it? Oh yh, it was. So to all the sore losers, get over it. You lost.

  9. 14 amberleigh45 April 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Honestly, all this about Panthers winning because it was home ice, it’s ridiculous. The only advantage the game held was being the home team and being able to see the lines first, if I’m correct, which I am, that was cardiff.

  10. 15 Phil Cooper April 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    This I have posted on the Cage forum
    “Nottingham and the NIC is a great venue, I have no problem it remaining there. There isn’t an alternative is there?”
    “The neutral venue issue. In a perfect ideal world then YES the MEN or the 02 but they would cost more than £100,000 so not possible.
    Sheffield has Disney on Ice that weekend every year. Would 7000 people travel to Belfast? I think not.”

    The quotes are from one David Simms on Twitter – not a renowned Panthers fan.

  11. 16 carl April 13, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I think the main issue is the lack of any kind of extras, Stalls,fan interaction,mascot races, all things to make the weekend more enjoyable and attract famillys not just groups of blokes out to get plastered.
    As for the Belfast thing transport and ferries would have no problem accomodating a few thousand fans (over 40,000 will travel from NI if ulster make the rugby finals at twickenham)
    It is also nearer for the 4 scottish clubs which could increase thier playoff attendees.
    The only advantage Panthers have is the Ice and the ammount of home fans in the building all the rest is just bumf
    Carl

    • 17 c April 13, 2012 at 10:07 am

      For a start, it isn’t just groups of men going, I seen lots of young children with their parents. Another thing, it isn’t just the accomadation and travel issues to go to belfast, its the costs of travel. Yes it may be easier for scottish teams, but then its harder for coventry, nottingham, sheffield ect. There is nothing wrong of it being at the NIC. Ok, so there isn’t much to do, but its something to think about and improve on for next year.

    • 18 Phil Cooper April 13, 2012 at 10:14 am

      “I think the main issue is the lack of any kind of extras, Stalls,fan interaction,mascot races, all things to make the weekend more enjoyable and attract famillys not just groups of blokes out to get plastered.”
      I did not go, but this seems a valid criticism and has been made on the “Cage”. Perhaps another thing lacking with regard to the Elite League organisation..
      One thing have noted is the excellent way that Belfast have off ice attractions.
      With regard to the transport, I dont think that it is a question of potential accomodation of fans, it is perhaps that it is unlikely so many mainland fans would go in the opposite direction as the rugby fans.

  12. 19 carl April 13, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Ah right so its ok for all the other teams fans to fork out cash to travel then? Withe regards fans travelling dont think that would be a probblem look how many panthers,sheffield and Brehead fans travel over for league games.
    Less and less Giants,Cardiff,Covenry fans travel each year if something isnt done it will end up with just Panthers and Steelers fans there.
    Bin the weekend and have 3 game series,

    • 20 c April 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Its cheaper for everyone, bar belfast for it to be in nottingham. As far as I no, panthers have the most fans in the league. We would all travel to belfast. Look at the braehead fans who went, they seemed happy enough. You say I’d be easier for the 4 scottish teams, but come on let’s face it dundee, fife, and edinburgh haven’t got as much chance of the other teams to make the playoffs. Belfast just isn’t an ideal place for everyone to travel over seas, there’s no need when there’s a perfectly good arena in nottingham. None of this would have been a problem if panthers hadn’t won. Just get over it.

  13. 21 carl April 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I havent once mentioned the Panthers winning it Go back over threads on hockey forums and look at the comments about entertainment and merchandise getting worse each year, but if you dont want to look outside the box thats fine, so then its a great weekend loads to do, its not stale and all is bright and rosy.
    Carl

  14. 23 Belfast Fan April 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    It won’t get moved cos everyone knows that Neil Black runs the EIHL and seeing as you’re not good enough to win the league AGAIN he has to make sure you durty Panfas get extra help winning what is now a tainted trophy.

    • 24 The Cat's Whiskers April 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Painting a great picture of Giants fans you are youth! You just keep making yourself look a tool.

    • 25 Stedders April 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      You are just SO determined to see only the negative aspects with regards to Nottingham Panthers, that there is NOTHING anyone could say to make you see any other way. You being so immoveable is your problem, not ours. But at least, Belfast Fan, we are respectful enough of you and the team that you follow, the Belfast Giants, to refer to them properly.

      As I said before, grow up. You’re behaving like a 12 year old with your blind vitriol.

      • 26 Alisdair April 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

        Maybe Belfast Fan IS a 12 year old. It would explain a lot. (Although my 7 year old’s spelling and grammar is better.)

    • 27 Cat April 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      If Neil Black owned the league that Panthers would be winning every year!
      Seriously get over it and if you are that unhappy write a email to the league.
      Oh if you do, I would also use the spell checker to help!

  15. 29 Lozza April 13, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Omg! If people don’t like where or how the even is don’t go! It’s simple! Why complain! If you don’t like it don’t go!

    Wish people would get over the whole thing! It’s boring and old! And as a none panthers fan I still have to agree that none of this would matter if they hadn’t won!

    It’s a great weekend drinking or not! So just make it easy and don’t go if it’s really that bad! Every one knows year in year out where it’s going to held!

    Well done panthers by the way seems I’ve not once seen this!

  16. 30 CJ April 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    For me the issue is simple. The team that won the coin toss or are ranked higher (however its decided each year) should be the home team, meaning home jerseys, FO advantage, dressing room and bench. For the record I don’t think the jersey colour makes any difference. The jerseys are being reversed anyway.

    There is no reason why the Panthers should have automatic preferance on any of the above.

    However I do think on the day none of the home advantages would of made any difference at all. The Panthers were better than the Devils so they rightfully won.

    We (Blaze) have been the better team at the NIC this season & won. The Panthers have been the better side at the Motorpoint and won. The Steelers have been the better side at the Skydome and won. Home advantage didn’t seem to make any difference in those series did it?

    As for where it’s held Nottingham is as good a place as any but I don’t see any reason why it can’t altinate

  17. 31 E April 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I believe that no matter where the panthers (spelt correctly btw) play they will always do a good job and so this whole thing about ‘home bench advantage’ and stuff is pointless and ridiculous and you are wasting your time arguing about it!!!!! Oh btw I thought the devils and the panthers played well despite all the complications.

    • 32 c April 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      i totally agree with you. Cardiff played really well. It was exceptionally close, but DAB managed to tip it in, like he always does. it was nothing to do with the home bench or changing rooms. if it was, we would have won by much more.

      • 33 E April 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm

        C i totally agree with you the panthers would have won by much more if the bench and home team advantage had anything to do with it!!

  18. 34 E April 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    i also believe that these comments would not have been made if the panthers hadn’t won, i haven’t seen anyone complaining in the previous years the playoffs have been held in nottingham and as for theres nothing to do, i believe there is if you know where to look and its not like there was that much time to do anything between to games on the saturday and as for sunday there should have been more on offer and less time between the award ceremony and the game but this can all be considered for next year and improved. so i see no reason for anyone to be complaining.

  19. 35 Kate April 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    As an ice hockey fan in general, I still have absolutely no idea why people are still moaning!! Panthers don’t always win at the NIC, be it a championship or a league game – look at our results. The figures speak for themselves! It has only been in recent years that we have progressed – and that is down to the hard work and dedication of the players, coach and club! And a little bit of luck too! A dressing room is just a space and a bench is just a piece of wood – do they have magical qualities that some of us don’t know about????? I would be quite happy to have the Playoffs elsewhere and have a weekend away!! BUT this really is not a Panthers fan v every other fan issue at all. Panthers fans hardly have the power or influence to make Elite League decisions. If people are really unhappy then please contact the Elite League. They are the people who make the decisions! Well done Panthers for winning four trophies in two years – you deserve it!


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