Hello everyone and welcome to another Sunday night blog post. Today, we’re going to be talking about hockey and the Belfast Giants. I’ve been asked quite a few times to elaborate more on these by my new followers, who have obviously noticed I tweet quite a lot about them (sorry!)
This blog is going to be a little all over the place seeing as it’s an introductory post and I’m not focusing on one specific topic. I promise future posts will be more specific and less chaotic!
I asked your opinions and the majority voted that a hockey section to my blog would be an interesting addition. Now, I do plan to do some general information hockey blogs such as the league we’re involved in, other leagues that I follow (mainly NHL), the rules and situations around hockey and some other things. However, it goes out to say that there will be a bias, I am a Belfast Giants fan through and through. That’s not to say that I can’t appreciate other teams and their talents, I am the first to say when they had a great game, great goal, good chemistry, etc, but I will be blogging about the Giants and the atmosphere and different things about games.
So, to start all this is a bit of information. The Belfast Giants are a team (obviously) based in Belfast, Northern Ireland and currently playing in the EIHL (Elite Ice Hockey League). More information on the team and the league can be found in the provided links. There are 10 teams in this league who battle for three things; the league, playoffs and the challenge cup. More information on the league and the different aspects on it will be coming in another blog post.
Photo credit to Belfast Giants
I am an absolute die hard Belfast Giants fan and was really lucky this year to be able to get a season ticket for the first time. I have attended every home game so far and I am actually going on my first away game of this season very soon to Dundee.
The atmosphere at a Belfast Giants game is fantastic. I have brought along friends, family and my nieces and all have been converted and would definitely return again. A point worth making is before the Giants, I was not a sports fan at all. I hated and avoided sports, even in school. However, after my first Giants game I was absolutely hooked. Hockey is face paced, energetic, edge of your seat stuff.
Anyone who has followed me for a while will know a bit about the build up to a game, I probably post it at every game! This year, the intro is amazing. The lights go out, phone lights go on and the arena comes alive.
The Giants skate out one by one under a large inflatable which is pretty cool and I know it was something that especially my nieces enjoyed.
For someone who hasn’t watched hockey before, it’s a really interesting sport to get in to. It can sometimes be a little difficult at first because it’s so fast paced, but after a couple of games you’ll really be getting into it. A night at the Giants is really catered for anyone and it’s a fantastic family night out. All information on tickets and games will be updated on the Belfast Giants website, and when I can, I’ll try and keep updated on both my Twitter and my blog.
Also in the games there is the opportunity to buy Shirt off the Back or 50/50 tickets. Shirt off the back is the chance to win the game worn jersey of a specific player (usually a different player week by week). 50/50 is the chance to win half of the money raised that night in ticket purchases. That was a terrible example, so if £1000 of tickets were purchased, you would win £500. Generally this amount does go up and over £1000, so it’s worth the chance. You’ve got to be in it to win it!
Period breaks come with their own interesting entertainment. There are things such as Chuck a Puck where you chuck a puck on to the ice and the closest three to the centre win prizes such as a boat trip with Stena Line (sponsors of the Giants), tickets and a jersey. There is Subway cannon, pretty self explanatory, someone shooting free food into the audience! There is dance cam which is ALWAYS a big hit with the kids and absolutely adorable to watch. There are also several games where you can get down on the ice and get involved such as a type of zorb football, beach ball battle, go kart racing and much more.
During the hockey there are also free food items such as pizza, cookies and ice cream and it’s always entertaining to watch the aisles when the free food is coming down!
For the hockey and atmosphere alone, it is well worth going to a game. The music, added entertainment and everything else just makes it a fantastic night out that, in my opinion, is well worth me spending most of my Saturday nights.
After the game, quite a few players will come up to McCools, the bar in the Odyssey. This is an opportunity for all fans to have a chat with the players and get some things signed. I honestly think this is amazing, there is not a lot of sports with so much fan interaction and the players are so down to earth and will happily take some time out of their evening to have a good chat with you and take some pictures. This was the first time I had ever seen my niece completely and honestly wordless! I think she was a little star struck!
Another shout out to Boomerang Corner, who will probably feature in my posts quite a bit. They’re a fantastic bunch who sit in a specific area of the arena. For the entire game they will chant players songs, they bring flags and drums and just generally have a great time and bring a great buzz to the arena. Absolutely everybody is invited to come along to Boomerang Corner and give it a go. I would honestly recommend it! I bought my season ticket for a specific place in the area, but since I found Boomerang Corner I haven’t sat in my season ticket seat once!
Lastly, there was a few people who had messaged me on Twitter and through my website asking about games and prices/how to get there etc. I am more than happy to answer these questions, and if anybody wants to come, give me a shout and I’ll again be more than happy to come along with you!
That’s it for now, apologise for the mess of this post but I do have a more structured plan in place for future posts!