The Easter week started with an ice hockey road trip to Dumfries on Monday.
It ended on Saturday with the German ice hockey playoff semi-finals in Ingolstadt.
My day in Dumfries was for the IIHF Women’s World Championships (division IIA, not the elite countries). Teams from Croatia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Korea, New Zealand and Great Britain gathered in a wee Scottish market town to play each other “round robin” over a week.
You couldn’t wish for a more cosmopolitan event. The on and off ice officials were drawn from an even wider pool – Slovenia, Estonia, Canada… and so on.
It was my first experience of a world championships. It was also my first experience of women’s ice hockey. In Scotland women play alongside men in the same teams, although the Dumfries club started a women’s team recently.
The event was the culmination of the joint efforts from the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation), Ice Hockey UK (the national governing body), Solway Sharks (the local club), Dumfries & Galloway Council (the local government authority) and Event Scotland (a Scottish Government agency).
Hats off to them all, and the 40+ volunteers.
ERC Ingolstadt are the 2013-14 German champions, but I only saw last season’s playoffs on TV. Tickets are hard to come by for playoff games – it’s a small arena by German standards with a 4,800 capacity.
This season things fell into place nicely. Game 5 of the semi-finals would be in Ingolstadt over the Easter weekend. So would I. Tickets went on sale at a lunchtime when Dr D could go to buy them.
It turned out to be a crucial game, with ERCI 3-1 ahead in the series against DEG Düsseldorf. The atmosphere at the game was amazing. The car park was full and fans were queueing to get in 90 minutes before the face-off. They had tickets, but wanted the best spots in the standing areas. The small section for the visiting fans was full too, and noisy.
The game itself was much more one sided than I expected with ERCI winning 6-1. Superb result. The seats (almost on the red line) were €55 each, so a loss would have been a double blow.
Final next – best of 7 series against Adler Mannheim. I’ll have to be satisfied with watching on TV.
© iain taylor 2015