All friends after the game – the two teams in 2012.
All photos: Flyfifer Photography (flyfifer.co.uk)
Ever heard the phrase “poacher turned gamekeeper”? Well on Saturday it will be the other way around as around 25-30 EIHA referees will take to the ice in full kits for a change at this year’s Referee’s Rumble. EIHA refs from the North will take on their counterparts in the South for a fifth time in what is sure to be a great game to watch.
The series is nicely poised at the moment, with both North and South having 2 wins each and twice the games have had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out – so it seems that these are two teams that are generally pretty well balanced. In the last fixture, in 2014, the game ended 2-2 in regular time and was won by the North in a penalty shoot-out with 18 year old Lawson Glasby (also played for Sutton Sting) getting the winning marker to seal the North’s victory.
This year the game is being organised by Nick Stephenson who has helped out in the organisation of previous years before stepping up to first organise Team South in 2014 before taking on the whole event this year. Like most refs, Nick started playing first as a junior: “I played hockey from the age of 8/9 but I was never especially good. Then I got invited to go on a referee’s course when I was 15. The officiating community welcomed me with open arms…”.
The game is a way for the refs to let loose and have some fun as well as raising some money for charity, as Nick Stephenson says “The Rumble is a great – we can give something back for a fantastic cause, while having fun and renewing a bit of friendly rivalry!”
The game will raise funds for AGE UK – a charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. They help more than 5m people every year providing support, companionship and advice for older people who need it most. Previous years have supported Macmillan, Help the Heros, Cancer reseach and the British Heart Foundation. Stephenson commented “I chose Age UK as they represent a major proportion of the UK population and as a seconardary reason, they represent acohort that we have not supported in the past.”
So who might you see if you come along and watch – well the North possibly have the most experienced player in their line-up this year. 30 year old Scott Mackenzie who played a full
season with Elite League club Edinburgh Capitals in 2009-10 as well as many seasons in the EPL, including leading the Telford Tigers as their Captain in the 2013-14 season.
The South may not boast any ex-Elite League players but they have plenty of depth as well –
Nick tells me that Phil O’Neil (formally played with Romford Raider in the EPL) and 18 year old defenceman Donald Campbell (one of the superb young guns from Chelmsford Warriors championship winning side) are ones to watch.
The 2016 Referees Rumble will be played this Saturday (16th July) at Milton Keynes Ice Arena. Face off is at 4:30pm. Entrance is free – but donations to AGE UK are very welcome and there will be a 50/50 and a raffle.
482 Days will have our own brand of live twitter commentary of the game – follow us @482days!