Tournament turned into pathetic war
Over the weekend August 25-26, the Sheffield Scimitars Ice Hockey Academy hosted a tournament at under 16 level, consisting of 42 games of hockey between 12 teams from all over the UK.
The event was well attended and the majority of games were played, as hoped and expected, in a spirit of sportmanship, respect and love for the game. Well at least 41 of them were.
The final was to be a hockey spectacle and a repeat of the opening game between Sheffield and Nottingham under 16s.
Sheffield Steelers were hosting their shirt launch at the same time and venue, and many of their supporters settled in to watch the game and were welcome to do so.
However, what followed was nothing short of disgusting, and I hope the so-called hockey fans, led by their ringmaster Dave Simms feel ashamed of their actions.
Simms managed in seconds to turn a sporting event into a pathetic extension of the Steelers ‘war’ with the Panthers, with his performing pals booing and cadjoling our guests and their families. When challenged by a young female player in the crowd, who was rightly incensed by their actions, one of them even lowered himself to verbal abuse, the nature of which could not be printed here!
Parents of the Sheffield players were so upset, they felt it necessary to apologise to the guests from Nottingham and the other teams for the behaviour of the Steelers supporters, (I use the term in its vaguest form, the majority of these people wouldn’t know a decent hockey match if they saw one).
These players were aged between 14 and 16, and did not deserve to be treated in this manner by adult supporters, and I would invite Sheffield Steelers, Mr Simms, and any of his followers, to think long and hard about their behaviour, before offering a sincere and heartfelt apology, not only to the youngsters of the Nottingham and Sheffield teams, but to the other (paying) customers, the Academy, and the representatives of teams from across the UK who witnessed their unacceptable and shocking behaviour.
Mr Simms should confine his infantile (and quite frankly boring) feud with Nottingham to the Arena and the people he controls. We at the Academy don’t need to be told when to clap and cheer!
The tournaments held by the Academy lead to long-term friendships between players and their families from all the teams involved. The behaviour on this occasion did nothing to enhance the claims of Sheffield as a City of Sport and sullied the reputation of Sheffield Steelers.