Away for a long weekend break to Belfast , no emails or telephone calls will be answered until Tuesday 14th March

We are off to Belfast for a long weekend 12 am Friday to late Monday .
we will be out of office from Friday March 10th   until Tuesday 14th of March , no telephone calls or Emails will be answered during these 4 days .
Myself and my family are ice hockey followers and full season ticket holders at Nottingham Panthers , and we have not been to an away game in Belfast as a Family for years, so decided to do it this year and go watch our local team the Nottingham Panthers take on the Belfast Giants , the weekend is a double header meaning  two games one on Friday evening and the other on Sunday afternoon .

as you can see when the Nottingham Panthers are in town the rink is normally a sell out at the Odyssey Arena  in Belfast .

sometimes a fight breaks out , I have been watching Ice Hockey since 1980 , you do get fights and scuffles it is very rare to see an all out bench clearance these days but it does occur now and again
A player normally gets a 5 minute penalty for fighting , if one is adjudged to be the instigator he gets an extra 2 mins .
you get 2 mins for roughing , but things like checking to the head gets you an 5 + match and you are thrown out the match , a team member has to take your 5 min penalty
a panel sits during the week and that player who checks to the head  can get an extra 5 game penalty .
if blood is on the ice the game stops the ice machine ( zamboni ) comes on and cleans the ice before it can resume .
now come on ,  tell me this is exciting than watching football ?

I was actually at this match in Belfast a few years ago now, this kicked off after the game on the hand shakes . ( no that is not a ghost in the background but some sort of advertising mascot )

Nottingham Panthers already have a very highly prized trophy this season in the continental Cup winners 2017  ( its actually a shield )
no other club in UK hockey has won a European trophy , Panthers are the only team to win a European Trophy and they did it this year in Italy .
It looks like Cardiff Devils will win the league this year but chasing them all the way to the end of the season are the Belfast Giants so we expect a tough two matches this weekend .
Cardiff have already won the League Challenge Cup ( normally panthers win this every season ) .
so whats left is the Play off trophy which always takes place in Nottingham the home of the panthers .
10 teams in the league top 8 go into a play off 1/4 finals , last 4 teams meet in Nottingham to play two semi finals on the Saturday and the last two teams in the final on the Sunday
all the fans from around the UK come to the play off finals it is like their Wembley .

When you win the big three and that’s a grand slam in ice hockey .
Winning the Continent cup this season must go down as an equal to lifting all these three trophies in 2012 -1013 season.