WPFG: ICE HOCKEY DAY5

First win for NI Tridents 4-2 against UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados

First win for NI Tridents 4-2 against UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados

A great win tonight (their first in the round robin tournament) for the home team, Northern Ireland Tridents and their coach, Beni McAllister. The crowd at the Odyssey Arena cheered them on to a 4-2 victory over UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados. Their last match in the world police and fire games ice hockey will be tomorrow at 7pm against Reykjavik Ice Falcons from Iceland. I had time to take a break during this game but saw the third period and the team afterwards were delighted with their victory.

I was the announcer at the other four games today, arriving at the Arena at 9:30am and arriving home after 9:30pm. In the last match at 7pm Las Vegas Guns and Hoses who had proved a big hit with the locals defeated Reykjavik Ice Falcons 7-4. It was the last game for the Vegas side, who have now finished their participation in the games before the official opening ceremony on Thursday!

Las Vegas Guns & Hoses bid farewell with victory over Reykjavik Ice Falcons

Las Vegas Guns & Hoses bid farewell with victory over Reykjavik Ice Falcons

This morning the action stepped up a notch or two, with two games at division two level. Both featured teams from Finland. Fire Department New York beat Jyväskylä Fire. In the second match at 1pm, Tempere beat Boston Police Emerald Department. The third game at 3pm saw the return of the dancing Finnish ladies in support of SW Finland Emergency Services. It went to a penalty shootout against North America Blue, resulting in a thrilling win for NAB.

For those five and a half hours I was operating under the guidance of an expert resident team and the help of a few fellow volunteers in the small control area at the audience side of the ice. You have to remember not to try to attempt to cross the ice while the Zamboni resurfacing machine is at work. The ice is flooded after every two periods and the process takes at least 12 minutes, during which time the two goal nets have to be moved and then put back into place: one job I did not try to tackle!

Monday’s five games at the Odyssey (there were also two in the 45+ division at Dundonald Ice Bowl, Trondheim Fire Dept 4  Service Incendie Montreal 11 and Finland Police 4  New York Fire & Ice  3) :-

FDNY (New York)  4   Jyväskylä Fire 5

Tampere Police Dept  8  Boston Police Emerald Dept  5

SW Finland Emergency Service  4  North America Blue 3  (after penalty shootout)

NI Tridents  4   UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados  2

Las Vegas Guns & Hoses  7   Reykjavik Ice Falcons  4

Tuesday’s schedule at Dundonald Ice Bowl sees two division 2 matches:

Windsor 45s  v  FDNY and an all-Finnish clash between Jyväskylä Fire and Tampere Police Dept. The schedule for the Odyssey is:-

11am   Russian Home Affairs Ministry v Trondheim Fire Department (45+)

1pm  Service Incendie Montreal v Finland Police (45+)

3pm  UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados  v  SW Finland Emergency Service  (Novice)

5pm  North America Blue  v  Toronto Courts  (for the gold medal in the novice section)

7pm  NI Tridents v Reykjavik Ice Falcons  (Novice)

WPFG: ICE HOCKEY DAY4

NI Tridents (5)  v Las Vegas Guns and Hoses (6) Photo: © Michael Fisher

NI Tridents (5) v Las Vegas Guns and Hoses (6) Photo: © Michael Fisher

It was a great night at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, with nearly 2000 people managing to create a special atmosphere in the stadium. Local team NI Tridents put on their best performance so far in the round robin ice hockey tournament at the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast. In a closely contested match against the experienced Las Vegas Guns and Hoses, they lost by a single goal, 5-6. The crowd really got behind the Tridents, which I’m sure encouraged them. At one stage the match was at level pegging, 3-3, but Vegas scored again soon after the Tridents got their equaliser in the second period.

All this action is FREE and FUN! Tell your family and friends and get down to the Odyssey to follow the NI Tridents!

NI Tridents v Las Vegas Guns & Hoses: Photo © Michael Fisher

NI Tridents v Las Vegas Guns & Hoses: Photo © Michael Fisher

I began my day as a volunteer giving a lift to several members of the UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados team, who must have thought they were being kidnapped when I spotted them on the Malone Road! But I recognised a couple of them from watching them in action since Thursday. When we got to the Odyssey, I was told it was the birthday of the net minder, so the team organised a little present for him: as the announcer, I got the crowd to join me in singing Happy Birthday to Roger Hemming. His teammates then doused him with a bucket of water which had been hidden in the penalty box! The Tornados went down 11-2 to Toronto Courts, who have emerged as one of the top teams in this tournament.

It was an almost similar scoreline in the second match, with South West Finland Emergency Services seeing off their Nordic counterparts from the Reykjavik Ice Falcons 11-1. Before the game I mingled with the crowd and went up to where the Finnish ‘dancing ladies’ were sitting and greeted them with the only word in Finnish I could find this morning: ‘tervetuloa’, or welcome, and I got the crowd to applaud them.

So the results of today’s three games:

Toronto Courts  11   UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados  2

SW Finland  11   Reykjavik Ice Falcons 1   (1st period: 5-0)   (2nd period 8-1)

NI Tridents  5   Las Vegas Guns & Hoses  6

NI Falcons 5 Las Vegas Guns & Hoses 6

NI Falcons 5 Las Vegas Guns & Hoses 6 Photo: © MIchael Fisher

The NI Tridents Ice Hockey Club was formed in 2010 and originally comprised members of Northern Ireland’s three main emergency services; the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) and the Northern Ireland Prison Service. The team now includes members of An Garda Siochana, giving the Tridents a unique first as the only all-Ireland joint emergency services sporting team on the Island. When Dundalk Ice Rink was open, they played some of their games there.

Tomorrow there will be two matches at Dundonald Ice Bowl. In the 45+ competition, Trondheim Fire Department from Norway take on Service Incendie Montreal (Fire Service) at 1pm and Finland Police take on New York Fire & Ice at 3pm. At the Odyssey the first two games will be Division 2 standard, with New York City Fire facing off at 11am against another Finnish team, Jyvaskyla Fire and at 1pm, Tampere Police Department also from Finland take on Boston Police Emerald Department. SW Finland take on North America Blue at 3pm, followed by NI Tridents against UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados at 5pm, so please turn out in support of our home team. The final match at 7pm will see Las Vegas Guns & Hoses pitched against Reykjavik Ice Falcons.

Good crowd at the Odyssey Arena for the ice hockey

Good crowd at the Odyssey Arena for the ice hockey

WPFG 2013: ICE HOCKEY

WPFG Volunteer Michael Fisher with Kim Harper, Las Vegas Guns & Hoses Picture: © Kelvin Boyes, Press Eye

WPFG Volunteer Michael Fisher with Kim Harper, Las Vegas Guns & Hoses Picture: © Kelvin Boyes, Press Eye

The 2013 World Police and Fire Games have started in Belfast with the preliminary rounds in the ice hockey tournament, which are being played at the Odyssey Arena. Day One of my week as a WPFG volunteer was taken up with meeting other members of the team including the event controllers and the other volunteers. The Odyssey staff were also very helpful and I am now more familiar with the layout of the complex.

The first sign: Registration

The first sign: Registration

There were three games at the venue today, starting at 3pm. Reykjavik Ice Falcons from Iceland took on the UK Firefighters/HMP Tornados and ran out 6-2 winners. The second game saw North America Blue defeat Las Vegas Guns and Hoses (among them sharpshooter Kimberly Harper, pictured above) by 5-3. Kim is a patrol deputy with Bonner County Sheriff’s Office in Las Vegas.

The crowd which had been around 500 for the first two games almost doubled when the local team NI Tridents took to the ice against Toronto Courts. The Canadians were a much stronger outfit and there was a great cheer from the crowd when the Tridents scored their first goal in the second period, when they were trailing well behind. Toronto won 11-3 but it was a gutsy performance by our local representatives who will be back in action on Saturday at 11am against SW Finland Emergency Services. Anyone who wants to watch can come along. Entrance is FREE. So get behind the Tridents!

Dame Mary Peters arrives at the Odyssey

Dame Mary Peters arrives at the Odyssey

One of the jobs I found myself doing was to meet the games patron Dame Mary Peters as she arrived to see the NI Tridents in action. ‘Thank you for volunteering’ was her message to myself and a colleague at the entrance. Other important guests included the First Minister Peter Robinson and the Northern Ireland Minister for Culture Carál Ní Chuilín.

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and First Minister Peter Robinson interviewed by BBC News

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and First Minister Peter Robinson interviewed by BBC News

Mr Robinson said he was proud to have such an event in Northern Ireland. In an interview with BBC News he said: “It has been a long time in the planning indeed for the lads who are out on the ice at the moment, three years they’ve been working up to this, so this is the pinnacle for them, at a top class event, to be able to participate and it’s the start of a whole long period of top class events.” Ms Ní Chuilín said there would be something at the games for everyone. “It’s mostly free and that’s what it’s about,” she told reporter Chris Buckler. I will be back at the Odyssey complex tomorrow afternoon.

Odyssey Arena, Belfast

Odyssey Arena, Belfast