With the English Ice Hockey season drawing to a close, play-offs just around the corner, fans of Guildford Flames were certainly in good mood.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus situation effecting the world now, the Elite League Board opted to cancel the remaining part of the season.
Flames forward Ben Davies was understandably frustrated by the decision of the board, but recognised the reason for the shutdown. “ You work throughout the whole year to come up to the play offs, we put ourselves in the play off position, although we hadn’t quiet got the consistency right at the time with three weeks left of the regular season we were looking forward to the play offs. It’s not an ideal situation to happen, but it’s better now that it is called off than towards the end of the year or at the start of the season”.
“We’ve now got six months off until the new season, and hopefully next season goes ahead as planned, and this thing blows over pretty quickly”.
Ben and the team were constantly keeping up to date with what was happening during the COVID-19 crisis. “We were keeping up to date with other players around the league, but it was business as usual until we knew on Friday that it would be cancelled and from there it was everybody just trying to get out of the country safely.”
Davies mentioned to me that the guys all got together for the next few days, with nobody flying straight out immediately. “We had a get together a few times as a team. Everybody said their goodbyes and wished every one a good summer. I believe pretty much the majority of the team have gone back home”.
As regards next season Ben is still unsure what will happen. “I don’t know if there will be a pre season. I am sure there will be talks in the coming months of what they are going to do. Hopefully they will put a plan in place as soon as they can, so everyone is on the same page, especially for the players who right now are trying to get contracts for next year. It’s a stressful time of year for players anyway, and obviously with not finishing the season off and the uncertainty of next season it is tough for players right now.”
Davies, who has been with the Flames for the past three seasons was honest about his thoughts on the season. “I felt that we were quite inconsistent throughout the year as a team. We all spoke about this as a team. We would win a big game and then loose a scrappy one. With the play off structure being very short, anything could off happened. We came off one big weekend where we beat Belfast and Sheffield. It was looking good for us”.
Ben has also had the honour of representing Great Britain at international level. “Whenever you get the chance to put the GB shirt on it’s unbelievable really. We came off a big World Championships last May, with everybody excited to get back together and hopefully put a good run in but it wasn’t to be after losing to Hungry in the last game. We were playing quiet well but couldn’t put goals on the board.”
Davies is also apprehensive that the forthcoming World Championships will happen. “I would be surprised if it does go ahead, you can only take it as it goes, so I am just trying to stay fit and hopefully get the call from the training camp and try and make that team.”