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10th October 2012

Manchester prepare for inaugural ice hockey Varsity

Ice hockey fixture a first for the Manchester universities

“It will be an intense game; it might even kick off a bit!” says University of Manchester ice hockey captain Matthew Rohani, ahead of next week’s ice hockey Varsity match. “It is the one time this year the players will really be able to go at it.”

Speaking to Mancunion Sport ahead of the game, he seems to be in good spirits. “We lost a few players over the summer but the replacements are of an equal standard,” he says. “We are hoping to reach a similar level to last year.”

The match against Manchester Metropolitan is the first-ever ice hockey Varsity, and will take place at Altrincham Ice Rink on Tuesday 23rd October.

The game should be high on quality, with several new faces mixing it with semi-professionals on both sides. These include MMU goaltender Declan Ryan of the Telford Tigers, and Max Drakeley, defenceman for University of Manchester and Trafford Metros.

Both teams have a wealth of talent to call on for the match, and Rohani will be looking for a strong start from his new recruits.

The event will include pre-match entertainment, cheerleaders, and, perhaps most importantly, a bar. The £5 ticket also includes free admission to the after-party at Walkabout (provided that you keep hold of it after the game).

Information regarding tickets can be found on the Manchester Ice Hockey Facebook group. The venue can be reached by tram, either from Piccadilly or St Peter’s Square, or by taking the number 41 bus. Car parking facilities are also available outside the ground.

The match provides an opportunity for the two universities to knock chunks out of each other before they reunite as part of the Manchester Metros, a team comprised of all the Manchester universities, who compete in Division One North of the British University Ice Hockey Association.

The Metros won the Division last season and Rohani is confident that the feat can be repeated. He also believes that they can compete for the main prize at the Nationals next year, although he says it is now “a harder and much more elusive prize to get hold of.”

But all focus for now will be on this month’s Varsity game, and the chance for both teams to get one over on their noisy neighbours and assert their superiority once and for all.

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