Varsity ice hockey: fans fail to spell victory for Coventry

By Christine Ong

IMG_1951

The cheering style of the lads in the stand at the opening Varsity match was certainly creative. Every time their home team scored in the ice hockey match against Warwick, the boys lifted their tops to reveal the word COVENTRY written across their chests.

Then they pulled off quite an entertainment by mistakenly arranging themselves ‘COVNETRY’. 

It rather set the tone for the match on 20 February at Skydome in Coventry. 

But what a night. It was a surprise seeing so many people walking through the quiet streets of Coventry to see the match.

There was a big group of people queuing by the entrance and a bunch more walking out from a few University buses parked across the venue. Staff trying to sell scarves walked about in their Varsity uniforms telling us, “It’s cold inside guys,” as if we didn’t already know.

As I reached the front of the queue, heavy music blasted from inside the dome and built up the excitement as I walked in. It almost didn’t feel like Varsity, more like a professional match. It was quite a mission to find seats.

A few enthusiasts in “One Coventry” shirts had painted their faces yellow and blue all over.

More than half of the people in the dome wore Coventry’s dark blue (with yellow prints) t-shirts, which were sold as part of the Varsity “big ticket”.

IMG_1943Warwick students wore turquoise t-shirts and almost all of them brought giant foam fingers. It was so funny: they spent money for those foam fingers, but it was worth it, I guess.

Heavy music played as we waited for the teams to enter the rink, and really got everyone into that ‘ice hockey mood’. We all knew what goes down on an ice hockey game: it’s not just about the game itself.

 

The gates closed at 7:45pm and the teams finally arose from the benches beside the rink, Coventry clad in white and Warwick in blue. Heavy cheering echoed across the dome. I was mesmerized.

I couldn’t quite decide whether it was love of ice hockey fighting that brought them there or they just wanted to support their team.

Ice Hockey Varsity is definitely not one to miss.

Warwick scored the first three points in the first period and Coventry scored two.

In the second period, people’s beers spilled behind me as they cheered with all their hearts when Coventry scored a few times, putting them two points ahead. But violence was just as good as a score because people were cheering just as loudly every time a fight broke out in the rink.

The language also got a little out of hand as the pints went down, Warwick and Coventry crowds were screaming all sorts of trash-talk against each other. A group of confident, careless lads were chanting “you’ve been served” over and over again. And other things.

Coventry’s number 77, Luke Brittle, was the star who caught the crowd’s attention. Or most girls’ attention, any way.

The last period, though, was a complete and utter shock. Coventry were leading until the very last minute. Number 87, Vincenzo Ferrara, was put in the penalty box, leaving only four players against Warwick’s five. Warwick caught up rather quickly and scored to go one point ahead in the last thirty seconds.

As Warwick claimed their victory, the Coventry crowd went quiet, contemplating what had just happened. It was as if they had been dropped from 100 feet high and flattened on the ground by this moment. I couldn’t believe it myself.

Those carefree Coventry fans who’d been taunting their rivals so loudly suddenly had nothing to say.

Sub-edited by Simon Pipe

Repurposed Voice piece:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.