Does Pre Season Mean Anything?

With the ice hockey season now well under way the leagues seem to be forming the challengers, play off contenders and the try again next year sides. But what happened to the teams promising much before the season started.

In the EPL, Manchester Phoenix started pre season as a side to beat but a draw at Sheffield and a win on home against the Steeldogs was less than convincing yet find themselves at joint top of table. Swindon on the other hand played 4 pre season games winning 2 against Telford (a side that they were expected to beat) but then lost 2 against the Slough Jets. But they find themselves with 4-4-1 record, continuing that pre season trend. In the EIHL however the Hull Stringrays had a promising preseason which included winning the P&O Cup and yet have only 1 win so far from 12 games. At the opposite end of table the Belfast Giants were 1 – 1- 0 in pre season but top the table.

So pre season results doesn’t convert into any sort of form guide for how a team will fair in the league but is it useful as a tool for trying out lines and getting the team going. This too is to not conclusive as both Manchester and Belfast only played 2 pre season games and both top their leagues early on.

So why bother? The traditional thinking was that it allowed players to get into shape but that is less of a case now as players are able to and do use good gyms all year round. But in hockey money talks and pre season allows clubs to have extra games and get extra revenue from ticket sales without the leagues taking a cut. And that is the answer. Pre season does mean something for the clubs. Money.

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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