Oh What An Atmosphere!

Due to filming for Cat’s Whiskers TV, on Sunday I was lucky enough to be stood by the Panthers bench for the entire game between Panthers & Blaze and got to hear some of the banter that went back and forth between the crowd and the Panthers bench.There has been much said & written in the past about the ‘vociferous’ nature of the fans that sit behind the away bench at Coventry’s Skydome. I’ve heard many stories of how bad it supposedly is, some (unsubstantiated) claims of spitting, the crowd making so much noise that the coach couldn’t pass instructions to his players during a time out and altercations between players & fans.

To describe the scene for those who haven’t been, there is very little to separate the crowd and the players. The locker room is directly underneath the stands and the players have to come through the spectator area in order to get to the bench. While the players make their way to & from the bench they are separated from the crowd by a metal barrier which is moved by a friendly steward (who himself was telling me stories of how the players and crowd can get a bit close for comfort!)

What I witnessed over the course of the game was a privilege to watch, the quality of banter between the fans and the bench was a joy to behold. The Blaze fans taking every opportunity to rile the Panthers, most just staying stoney faced but David Ling bit. I didn’t hear what was said but judging by his grin I’m guessing it was funny.
With 2,895 in the building it was incredibly loud, however a Panthers time-out saw the Blaze fans behind the bench produce so much noise that I doubt Corey Neilson or the team heard anything (the guy who produced a megaphone made me think some were taking it a bit far though!) Far from being annoyed it actually made me laugh, it showed the lengths that some fans will go to for their team.
There were of course the inevitable ‘1956’ chants (who had 17.20 in the sweep?) but that’s to be expected I suppose.

Problem is in today’s sanatised world some would probably be horrified at such behaviour, but it was harmless fun, nothing got out of hand, it was all good-natured and there was no bad language (not that I heard anyway). I was jealous of the noise and it made me want that sort of atmosphere at our home games.

The Blaze fans sometimes get a bad press but there were absolutely no problems, nobody bothered us or appeared offended by our presence. Don’t get me wrong, I hate seeing us lose games, but the disappointment fades in hours. The noise and atmosphere from Sunday night will stay with me for a long time.

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2 Responses to “Oh What An Atmosphere!”


  1. 1 Lynne October 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I agree Jono, it was a fantastic atmosphere and I was more than a little envious of the noise levels in the stands on Sunday.

  2. 2 Tracy Gudgeon October 18, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Thanks Jono, great to hear from oposing fans about our atmospher. I wonder sometimes what the players think about the noise that we make during away teams time outs.


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