Well, it’s been a long time since I wrote one of these, and it’s safe to say a lot has changed since then. But FINALLY, we are back on the ice doing what we love in front of the best fans in the league.

As for the hockey, you’d have to be blind not to see that we’ve had a bit of a mixed start. I said at the start of the season that this will be one of the most open and tightly contested leagues in a long time. With teams having changed significantly over the last two years I think that, except for one or two clubs, anyone can beat anyone on their day. This has been reflected in the results across the whole division so far, with nearly a quarter of all games being decided by a one-goal margin. As players and fans, isn’t that the reason we show up every weekend? The excitement, the entertainment, the nerves, and the jubilation that comes from each game, each goal.

It means we can’t afford to lose focus at any point as there are no guarantees this year. It’s for that reason the support becomes even more important. Considering we are still in times of uncertainty, to see the sheer number of people showing up each week is incredible, and the support so far has been fantastic.

The team is really starting to come together now. Some of us were lucky enough to play in the Spring Cups, but for many players it has been a long time away from the game. It was always going to take time to re-build, but over the last few weeks I’ve seen that the talent and ability is there. There is always a risk when bringing in new players, that it may interfere with the dynamic of the team, but I generally don’t think we could have brought in a better bunch. They’ve slotted right in, so credit must go to both them and the management team for the hard work put in over the last few months.

As mentioned previously, the games so far have been mixed. After a solid win in the London derby against Lee Valley, we let ourselves down against Streatham. Regardless of what we thought of the refereeing on the day, we fell well short of expectations and were deservedly beaten.

After sitting down and taking a long hard look at ourselves we bounced back incredibly well away at Invicta. Always a tricky and hostile place to go, we showed real heart to come out with a regulation time win, and a huge two points. Although complacency hindered us in the return leg the following week, I like to look at the positives. To fight back to a draw in the 3rd showed that we are a team that won’t give up, and I’m not too disheartened to lose on penalty shots, which in theory are somewhat of a lottery. Mustangs have been a bit of a bogey team for us in the past, so it was great to win the series.

This was all topped with a strong performance away to my old team Chelmsford Warriors this weekend gone. The work done on the powerplay in training finally came to fruition and we walked out with another 2 points in the bag. 

Which brings us to a huge weekend ahead. It’s safe to say we played a short-benched Warriors team on Sunday, but with the Chieftains not playing this Saturday, I fully expect it to be a completely different game this weekend. I have no doubt another nail-biter is on the cards, but one we are more than capable of winning. Get down to the Palace, cheer loudly and enjoy the spectacle.

This weekend’s home game will be my 100th competitive game with the Huskies, and I guess it is appropriate that it is against the team where I started playing senior hockey. It would be amazing to share it with as many of you as possible, and hopefully we can walk out with another huge win. This weekend is also our first double header weekend of the season; after what happened last time out against Streatham, we’ll be looking to bounce back with a 4-point weekend to propel us up the league table.

Elsewhere in the room, big Sammy Roberts has already made a strong start on his quest to win fan’s player of the season this year. Quite the charmer, Sammy is probably capable of smooth talking his way into any autograph book, so keep an eye out after the game. Rumour has it new copper Jaden is working hard behind the scenes in using his newfound podcast fame to launch his own tank top brand, after all those arm day shifts at the gym.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Quaggs [Joe Willingham] on tying the knot over the last few weeks, if you were wondering where he was for the first few games, Joe was out enjoying life in the Maldives on his honeymoon. Being a true Brit, Joe managed to get sunburnt on the first day. Congratulations to Joe and all the best for a long and happy future. 

Finally in the week I reach 100 games, I just want to take a second to congratulate my good friend, the mayor of this town, Stu Appleby on reaching the same feat only a few weeks ago. Unfortunate to not get a home game to celebrate it, Stu is a guy who will never let you down, and having played together since Huskies formed a few years ago, he’s a guy I look up to on the ice.

Congratulations mate.

I look forward to seeing most of you at the weekend for a huge two games of hockey. Cheer loud…it makes a difference!

Woody #23