A first experience of a Swindon Wildcats game

As I think I’ve mentioned before, what I know about sport can be written on a pin head with room to spare. Hence I’m getting guest writers to produce me a few words here and there on the sporting aspects of Swindon. I’ve already had a lovely post from Lee about STFC – the town’s football club. Now we have, from Jamie, a Twitter ‘friend’, a few lines on his first visit to an ice-hockey game in Swindon.  Like me, Jamie is not a native of Swindon, hailing as he does from Yeovil in Somerset. And also like me, he considers himself to be a Swindonian, having pitched up here aged 16, as he put its: ‘some (cough) 27 years ago.’

So too with the ice-hockey. As with STFC, I know there is an ice-hockey team here in Swindon: The Swindon Wildcats and that they are based in the Link Centre in West Swindon. And that’s it. So it’s been great to get Jamie’s account of his first time at a Wildcats game. I reckon he’s successfully conjured up an image of what is to be expected. Can’t you just hear that drum?  And, whilst I’m not really a sports fan, it sounds like it might be fun to try out. So thank you Jamie for sharing this with the blog. I’ve really enjoyed reading about it.  Anyway, with no further ado here’s what Jamie had to say about his experience:

” So it was on a Saturday night, in the inevitable post Christmas pre New Year lull that myself and a group of friends decided to to give a Swindon Wildcats Ice Hockey match a go at the Link Centre. I’ve been a regular at the County Ground for many of those 27 years and am a sports fan in general, so it’s odd that I’ve never got round to watching the Wildcats.

If you like peace and quiet then Ice Hockey isn’t for you, even before you get to the arena you’re met with shouty kids trying to sell you stuff. Once in the arena, the crowd, a genuine equal mixture of  male and female, young and old, sing along to the pounding of a drum. The match DJ (yes really) seems to have a song prepared for every  possible incident. It’s all foam fingers, enormous shirts and lots and lots of noise!  It is really great fun and easy to get sucked in to the atmosphere.

As for the game itself. Well, first of all it was reasonably easy to follow … how hard can it be? The Wildcats need to score more than the other guys. The play is fast and exciting, sometimes so fast you lose sight of the puck. The turn over of players is constant. I won’t give a detailed run down of the proceedings because infinitely more qualified reports are only a click or two away, but for the record, the Swindon Wildcats beat the Basingstoke Bison 7-5. Result! This being the Christmas season the Wildcats were in Father Christmas outfits and of course there was a fight. It seems that an ice-hockey game is incomplete without a fight!

So I’m no longer a Wildcats Virgin.  I can’t see myself becoming a regular at the Link Centre because my heart belongs to the County Ground but I’ll definitely try it again.  Lets go Wildcats!”

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