from Dustin Sprout of Shnarped (Dustin Sproat is a cofounder of Shnarped and played hockey at the junior, collegiate, and minor pro level),
Given I played in the EIHL for a stint, I thought I’d kick off the feature with a little blog about my own experiences in England.
Living in Nottingham while playing hockey for the Panthers was a blast. The arena we played in was top notch and the city itself should be a definite stopover for any tourist visiting England. Much of downtown is pedestrian-only and filled with great pubs, restaurants, shopping, and old school architecture.
But it was the fans that made playing in Nottingham such a great experience. The 9,000-seat arena was nearly full most nights and packed to capacity when the rival Sheffield Steelers came to town. Around town we were recognized regularly and treated like local celebrities. In towns like Sheffield, Cardiff, Belfast, Nottingham, and Coventry, hockey has been around for a long time and has an incredibly passionate fan following, which is one of the main reasons we’re so excited to be adding the league to Shnarped.
In the minors, when you’re typically playing more for the love of the game than for the compensation, the perks you get around town make a big difference. In the East Coast League we’d often get cheap golf or movie passes or 20% off at a local diner. Nottingham’s perks took the cake. Great deals at the Nandos restaurant, basically free movies at the theatre, late night shawarma, and Hooters (Nottingham just so happens to have the only Hooters outside of North America).
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