David Spence describes how hockey got him hooked…

Two and a half years ago I was finally convinced by my mate Higgy to go to a hockey game and if I’m being honest I only went in hope of seeing a fight! What I witnessed was a 5-3 barnstormer against Belfast, but yet I still went home gutted as there was no scrapping! To be fair, I didn’t have a clue what was going on and I know full well I pissed off Higgy as I was shouting shoot from the opening face off and referring to everything in football terms such as midfield, kick-off etc.

I returned a few weeks later to watch a 1-0 loss against Newcastle, which was quite frankly crap, but I got to witness Shmyr v Payette, with one of Dave Page’s (R.I.P) more famous pictures being taken showing Shmyr landing a bomb right on the side of donkey’s head.

The two games had done enough to bring me back and kick football to the kerb. I was going to games here and there throughout the rest of the season. It was brilliant seeing us demolish Edinburgh Caps 10-1 on Trevor Gallant’s debut ‘but I missed the big one and didn’t go to play-off’s and stone me we went and won it! I still went to the arena on the Monday when they paraded the trophy and loved it.

The following season began winning the famous cheeseboard against the Blaze and seeing some great fights and great games especially beating Steelers 6-1 at home and topping it off by winning the Challenge Cup, unfortunately as seems to be the case the league was a hurdle too far as were the play-offs, going out agonisingly to Cardiff. We all know what happened this season, a case of so near yet so far in most things but from a hockey point of view an entertaining year all round and hopefully a good platform to build on.

Making that decision two and a half years ago was probably the best thing I did as a sports fan, now I am a fan of a fast paced, full contact sport that offers fights, goals, great saves, great entertainment, much better value for money than watching the footy and a much more diverse set of fans that offer a great social side to the sport.

It has only taken me two and a half years to become immersed in the sport and I know we all get caught up in the politics of fan forums, bitching and moaning about the club and most of the usual things involved in being a fan of the team, but at times I think we need to step back from all of this and remember that we get to watch probably the best sport there is.

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