After a large victory against local rivals the Lee Valley Lions (11-1 the final result), the Haringey Huskies, Ally Pally’s resident ice hockey team, are ready to play again at the ice rink this Saturday (5.30 pm).
Hosting the Streatham Hawks at their home rink, this is the first match of a back-to-back weekend that will see them playing again in Peterborough on Sunday.
Both are key matches for the Huskies’ challenge for the title. In fact, at the time of writing, the team are top of the South East Division table of the NIHL 2.
Founded in 2017 by Lee Mercer, the Haringey Huskies are a north London ice hockey team born in the attempt to keep senior hockey alive in the area.
We spoke to Lee, who is also owner and player (look out for number 19 during matches).
“I picked the name Huskies after I found out that the already existing junior team was called the Hounds. We have a mascot that you can meet if you come to see us – of course it’s a Husky”
Using the Ally Pally ice rink as a training ground once a week, the Huskies players are professionals that also have careers off the ice.
“You must know that some of them are models for the famous Scottish soft drinks brand Irn-Bru, some are pilots, some are internet wizards and one even works in London’s toughest prison!”
With only four games to go in the regular season, the Huskies’ target is now to make the playoffs and to challenge for the division title.
“Some of us are having our best ever senior season. But we never forget that there is everything to play for.”
BEHIND THE SCENES…
For the Huskies to play at Alexandra Palace also requires a lot of work in the background by our Ice Rink team.
It is thanks to them that more than a thousand people can come and enjoy matches in the venue.
During a match day, a duty manager, receptionists, stewards, security, cleaners, catering staff and medical team are always on site to provide visitors and fans a great service, so that they can enjoy the action and unique atmosphere.
The Ice Rink team duties vary from meeting and greeting to selling tickets and helping customers to find a seat. A hand comes also from the House Team, which builds the platform for people with a disability or mobility concerns to enjoy a great view.
With customer safety a main concern for the Ice Rink team, stewards are positioned alongside the rink corners to stop the safety netting that is installed around the rink from getting too close to the fans.
With a puck sometimes reaching up to 50mph, it can have quite an impact when hitting the netting!
But a hockey puck is not the only thing that you can see going fast on the ice: after the afternoon public ice skating session at 4.30pm, the Ice Rink team always clear the ice of the skaters before bringing the ice bear machine onto the ice to resurface it and collect any snow/powder from the ice before depositing fresh hot water at 45 degrees Celsius. This melts the top 1 or 2 mm of ice before it gradually freezes over the next 5 to 10 minutes.
The bear machine is also used after every period of the match to resurface the ice, giving fans the chance to take a break and buy a hot chocolate or a cold beer with a hot dog at the café. Something you can’t miss if you come to see a match.
Now you know every secret of the coldest area of Alexandra Palace!
You can also check out this video
by Marco Garghentino