Play-Off Palaver

In his article this week Paul Balm examines the inevitable complaints when Play-Off ticket details are released…

I want to start with an apology. I started last week’s article by saying that there were actually three things in life that are inevitable: death, taxes & Brian Stewart’s meltdowns. I was wrong to say that and I wish to apologise unreservedly for forgetting possibly the most inevitable thing in life, somebody somewhere is moaning about the play-off weekend. The problem is this year I don’t think the majority of people moaning have got a leg to stand on.

It seems to me that there are three main things that people moan about (well, there’s four but I’m not talking about content because a) I sort of agree with that & b) the play-offs aren’t really about ice hockey and that’s a subject for another week). In no particular order the three things are…

1) The Location: I’m biased; I like the play-offs being in Nottingham. I can sleep in my own bed & catch the bus into the city centre so I don’t have to shell out for hotels or travel. I know there have been calls to have it played in other places but I don’t really see that there is, currently at least, a viable alternative. The only other two venues that have the needed capacity are Belfast and Sheffield and for me they’re both non-starters. Belfast for the costs involved for a large number of the people attending (and I know that Belfast fans have the issue with travelling to Nottingham) plus the logistics of a large influx of people into the city by air and sea. Sheffield, well let’s face it Sheffield Arena is in the middle of nowhere. One of the benefits of Nottingham is that the NIC is in the heart of the city and an easy walk from dozens of hotels. Can the same be said for Sheffield? Not really, there are only five hotels within realistic walking distance of the arena with the rest being in the city centre which would put an undue strain on the (Super?) tram. This weekend isn’t like a concert where the majority of people don’t need accommodation. There’s also the need to food and (mainly) drink. The numbers of locations for pre/post/during match beer and (apparently) food is limited to a couple of pubs and whatever delights Centertainment holds. It’s better than nothing but it doesn’t offer the diversity or the ability for dispersal that Nottingham offers. Not everyone wants to remain within the hurly burly that the play-offs bring (the only time I ever run is to avoid queuing outside the Lace Market Chippy for 30 minutes between semi-finals) and if everyone is concentrated in what’s located around the Motorpoint they’ll find it extremely difficult to escape.

2) The Price: Yes, it’s too expensive but people keep paying the price and the laws of supply and demand tell you that if people are paying what you’re charging then keep charging it. You may get some more by charging less and you’ll definitely lose some by charging more but the fact that the NIC is pretty full most play-off weekends shows that people are prepared to pay and either Nottingham or Sheffield (or both) have made it. Which brings me nicely to the…

3) Block Allocation: I’m sorry but this is supply and demand in action again. Nottingham and Sheffield bring the most fans so they get the most blocks and the biggest ones at that. With the best will in the world there’s no point giving the Edinburgh Capitals fans block 14 all to themselves. I do like the fact that every team has been given its own block this year. It’s something that fans have spent years crying out for & makes more sense than bundling fans together. I do think though that the EIHL have made a bit of a mistake giving Fife fans block 19 when Edinburgh have been given the much bigger block 18. Surely it would have made more sense to have those the other way round.

Still, it wouldn’t do for the EIHL to get everything right would it?

I’d like to finish with a caution for One Man & His Dog entrants (well, the human ones), milkmen and window cleaners. If I were you I’d be very careful practicing your whistling in the Glasgow area. It appears that a number of people have been hurt following incidents where Zach Fitzgerald has hit a number of individuals directly after hearing someone whistle. His activities have so far been confined to the ice but there are worries for the public safety should these incidents escalate. As a result an exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the city by James Whistler has been postponed until May.


1 Response to “Play-Off Palaver”

  1. 1 Mark January 26, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    All about right there mate.

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