Spartans Team Manager Lynn Faber really is a driving force behind the team to ensure Spartans take to the ice, in more than one way as last weekend. She is one of many unsung heroes behind our team dealing with an ever growing list of issues to ensure we are afforded the best opportunity to perform and be successful. This weekend was as much about her as it was the lads and we are grateful for sharing her thoughts on our weekend…
After a stressful two weeks of organising in preparation for the play off weekend in Dumfries, I was looking forward to the weekend with a mix of fantastic hockey, fun and merriment.
The first hurdle was the transit van I had ordered to be delivered with Shaun’s granddad went to the wrong address! A frantic drive by Cressida and John Knell to retrieve spare keys, whilst Shaun and Ges sat outside an unsuspecting house looking very shady indeed, we finally managed to get the van and get the kit on board.
The convoy rolled out of town, next stop Dumfries. On my bus we had John and Slice providing music with Slice deciding to give us his renditions of many songs. Is there an off button please…?!
We arrived tired but with a buzz of excitement already with the lads. An early night for all, (for the team anyway, not so sure about our supporters, probably), in anticipation for the game of the season on Saturday v Blackburn Hawks.
Saturday was a beautiful day, the sun shone and it was a good opportunity to get a Spartans team photo. The grounds of the hotel held a perfect backdrop. I gathered the team together (without Brandon, who was still getting ready!) and got a great photo.
On arrival at the rink the mood changed immediately. It was game day. Our allocated dressing room was attached to the football ground, it was large, new, with lots of space for everyone. The music blared out and preparations began. I’m not sure who was most nervous, Martin, me or the team.
I think I can safely say, there are some games when your nervous anticipation give you a slight tingling feeling, but when I saw the lads standing ready to come on the ice with Brandon leading the way, I had goose pimples everywhere. I couldn’t have been prouder of my boys at that moment, win, lose, whatever. I knew they would play their hearts out, it was a fantastic feeling. I know Martin has done a match write up so I won’t go into detail, but will say it was the most incredible game of hockey. We lost by a slight margin, not through any lack of commitment from any player.
As true team players, we stayed to watch the second semi-final between Solway and Billingham. The lads were enjoying some banter with Ward from Billingham and it was a good second game with Billingham coming out the victors.
Our next stop on such a busy Saturday was to the Mississippi Bar & Grill for food. Cressida, our new team sponsor for next season paid for the food and drinks for all players and management staff, which was a fantastic gesture and so well received by the team. It was a lovely meal, with lots of laughter and great company. Danny Mawer (obviously) decided to lead the team drinking game with a chant, followed by countdown for each player to down their drink. All took part, including our supporters who also came along for the meal with us.
Back at the hotel the chauffeurs were still on duty. Simon and I waited for the lads to preen themselves to go into town. A quick chat to Vixen from Billingham, and we drove the lads into the town centre.
Sunday was a more sombre morning. It was snowing as we left the hotel, what a contrast after Saturday’s weather. Most of the lads looked tired, but said they had a great night out, meeting up with Solway team in the bars too for some off ice banter.
We stayed to watch the final game. A few of our players decided to tape on their chests ‘Wardy’ with stick tape so when he skated past he would see it. Within minutes the entire arena was cheering and photos were appearing on facebook straight away. The game saw Blackburn beat Billingham to be crowned as play off champions and then it was homeward bound.
The lads at the back of the bus quickly fell asleep, which left the supporters at the front to talk nonsense. My favourite quote on the journey was Slice asking Debs if she would like to be a man for a day, strange but true.
We arrived home in good time, still with some light, which is a bonus coming from Solway! This, for me was the best play off weekend I’ve had, even though before we won the play offs.
The number of messages I’ve received after the weekend has been unbelievable. The lads, our supporters and other teams. It makes everything worthwhile for that feeling. The final thing for the season now is the presentation night. I am sorting out dates and already the votes are coming in from the players in preparation for the awards.
Highlights for me…
The journey there and back
The game on Saturday
The camaraderie of everyone, not just the team but supporters too.
Meeting new people at the weekend
Slice’s ridiculous comments to Debs on the bus back
Actually every single minute!
Roll on next year
Thank you to everyone for your support this season. A warm welcome to Cressida for next season, I know the team will provide you with many great results over 2015/16.
All that’s left to say is have a lovely restful summer, let’s be ready for 2015/16 season and remember, never underestimate my boys.
Lynn #1 Spartans Manager