So, the curtain comes down on the season, and what a season it’s been. There’s certainly been lots to talk about and lots of exciting games at the arena, including FOUR overtime wins, phew!

One thing is for sure its been an adventure! A bit bumpy at times but that’s what sport is all about, isn’t it? When the season started we were probably getting 300 hundred fans through the doors, it’s fair to say a lot of work has gone into marketing the business and we’ve not only gone over the 1000 mark but gone over 1200, that’s an amazing achievement, thanks to our superb fan base.

I got a chance this week to find some time to chat to Hawks Interim Suspended Coach Ollie Lomax who commented on the season, “Well, where do I begin?, I inherited a team that wasn’t mine (which is fine) it started with losing my starting goalie, then I lost an import for the season, then I got banned for an alleged ‘bench clearance’. I lost my Capt Cairney along with Calum for the season too, and we’ve ended up with so many injuries going down the final straight, if I didn’t get any bad luck I’d have no luck at all, but it’s been a fantastic learning curve for all of us, I’ve loved it, and I’ll always answer the call when the club needs me, we’ve had a solid bunch of guys this year, a great bunch of guys, like I said, I’ve loved it.”

Sunday, will see the League Champions Solway Sharks visit us, a proper well run club if you ask me. I have so much respect for the guys up there, and it’s our Green Night to, the new kit looks great and I can’t wait to see it out there on the ice.

As a season overview it’s been a hell of a ride, we’ve absolutely smashed it off the ice as a business and we are working hard behind the scenes to make it even better next season, that’s what our fans deserve.

I couldn’t end this without mentioning the suspensions we received, it’s not in my nature to just go quietly when quite clearly there has been so many wrongs in the whole farcical episode. As a governing body The EIHA (English Ice Association) are going through a transitional period and they have our full support as a club, but there has to be an element of accountability and responsibility with anything, we’ve made mistakes as a club since we took control, we’ve acknowledged these and admitted when we’ve been wrong, our plan is to meet at the end of the season and see where we can improve, that’s how any business should operate.

I cannot personally understand how THREE individuals received bans in excess of TWO years each, we’ve asked on several occasions for someone to admit responsibility for this, and we keep getting the same answer, NO. Surely as a member and customer of the organization we have a right to know how these conclusions were reached, these bans were unprecedented in UK Hockey, and as the appeals panel agreed were “EXTREME”. There were incidents prior and post ours that were clearly far far worse. I have to choose my words carefully as I’ve already been threatened with bringing the game into disrepute.
All we ask is for someone to explain how they reached this conclusion, I think that’s more than fair, in fact I know it is.
This has left a very bitter taste and it’s not going to just go away, that’s not how we work, we are ultra professional and we expect everyone else to be the same. We paid £500 to appeal, and yes it was a success to a certain degree, but what have we paid that huge sum for, it was all done over zoom, there were no travel expenses involved, luckily we were in a position to pay it, what if we weren’t, what if we were a pay to play team?

Players and a coach would have been banned for over years, lads who had played the game since they were 7 year olds, lost!
And a very uneasy precedent would have been set for every play and coach in the league moving forward. We are happy to work with the governing body, we are happy to help with advice if needs be, we are happy to help create a more professional environment for the sport if that’s what it needs, I think all of the above proves that it does.

Trust me when I say this isn’t going away, someone somewhere is responsible, what the reasoning was I don’t know, but we need to find out, hold your hands up, admit your mistakes and let’s move on, until then, well, I’m sorry but it’s not going to be a very comfortable relationship. On that sour note, let’s move on.

Can I take this opportunity on behalf of Carl and I to thank every individual who has contributed this season in making it such a huge success, without you ALL we don’t have a business.

Thank you ALL so very very much.

Cheers G

Blackburn Hawks