In a city that is more famous for it's gun crime, hooded outlaw and it's once footballing European champions, ice hockey is almost like the forgotten sport of Nottingham.
What's more surprising is that the Nottingham Panthers team, was first formed in 1946, yet it's only now in 2007 that I came to be at the Ice Stadium for my first ever ice hockey match.
'To watch an ice hockey match' is no. 31 on my list of 40 things to do before I'm 40 and was also the 6th item on my list to be completed. What better match to choose from then against the Sheffield Steelers (the footballing equivalent of Forest v Derby local derby).
From the moment I stepped into the ice stadium the scene was set for an incredible night. Our seats were positioned on the front row adjacent to the ice and the Sheffield Steelers fans were positioned to our left, which created an awesome atmosphere. The fan base was just incredible. The stadium itself was full to capacity and the passion for the sport was evident throughout both sets of supporters. The passion was certainly something I didn't expect. After going to the football for many seasons and feeling very passionate about that, I don't think ice hockey would be something I would personally get passionate over but people did and especially the women! There was some excellent examples of scary women there, non more scary than the girl who was obviously a girlfriend of one of the players, that rushed to the front and started banging on the glass, shouting "get off him you b*****d" when she saw her other half being beaten up by the apposing player.
One other good thing about the position of our seats was that it gave you a true indication of the velocity and speed, the players moved along the ice at and also made you aware of how physical the game was, bordering on the lines of being agressive. It certainly is not a game for wimps!
Although we came out the losers (2:1 to the Steelers), I thoroughly enjoyed my first ever ice hockey match and it would be certainly something that I would do again in the near future.