Tales of the Unexpected

This week Paul Balm asks you to get writing…

It’s been another quiet week in the EIHL. A quiet week apart, that is, from Belfast and Coventry inventing time travel between them and deciding to spend Sunday night back in the Heineken League days. The quiet, of course, causes problems for people like me who ran out of drums to beat a while ago and now have to talk about what’s happening.

It all means, if I want to keep this column going, that I have to find something else to write about and so with the kind permission of my editor-in-chief (it’s what Jono insists I call him these days) I want to talk to you about something very close to my heart.

That’s got you worried hasn’t it.

You may have heard about this or seen it already and if you have I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself but I hope you’ll see why I want to do this.

I had an idea. Now there’s another sentence to strike fear into those people that know me. I think the idea was back in June and the more I thought about the more I decided it was a good idea. That idea was a book of stories. Now you might say that it wasn’t exactly a very new idea and you’d probably be right. Well, OK you would definitely be right. This idea was different though and I was pretty sure that it was unique. The idea was that I’d put together a book of stories from fans of British ice hockey and what it is to be a fan of British ice hockey. It seemed like a good idea at the time (how often have I said that?) and a great idea after a couple of drinks so I bounced the idea around with a couple of people and we came up with the formula we have today.

It will be an ebook, fairly priced, with every penny of the proceeds going to Cancer Research UK as part of the Rink Rush.

Like all good ideas it sounds really simple when you say it quickly and like those other ideas it’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds. A book (or ebook, we chose that way of publishing as it is a lot cheaper and we can maximise the profits for the charity) lives and dies on the stories it contains and this is no exception. All of which brings me to the real reason I asked if I could write this article.

I’m making an appeal.

We want your stories. We want you to tell us about what makes being an ice hockey fan in this country so great. Tell us about the highs, the lows, the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Tell us about the great moments and the times you wanted the earth to swallow you up. When your team were world beaters or when they couldn’t beat an egg.

There’s so many different things you could write about so it might be better if I gave you a couple examples drawn from the stories I’ve submitted. The first is a pretty long story detailing my own personal journey to Belfast in 2013 which is, I suppose, a fairly obvious choice. It doesn’t mean you couldn’t write about it too because it would be about your experiences which will differ from mine. I mean, mine hardly mentions ice hockey at all because, despite that being at the very heart it wasn’t what that weekend was about to me. My other story is a lot shorter and it’s about an ex-Panthers player who wasn’t very good but once did something that stuck in the memory.

I think for me the two stories sum the whole thing up. They’re very different, one long one much shorter with very different subjects but they’re still all part of what it means to be a fan.

OK, the two stories I submitted are both Panthers related but I don’t want people going away from this thinking I can’t write for that because I’m not a Panthers fan. We’ve had articles so far from Braehead, Cardiff, Steelers fans and a story from Belfast set in Coventry with a genuinely unguessable ending. Genuinely.

It doesn’t matter either if you’ve never done anything like this before. It’s about the voice of the piece and the enthusiasm for this sport that we all love no matter what it does to us that will shine through. We’re not going to change the stories only tidy them up a bit for grammar etc because we don’t want to change your view, what you say is how you saw it and we’re not going to try and guess what you saw to make it sound better to us.

So, how does that sound? Interested? Do you fancy writing something for us?

If you do you can get in touch with us at therinkrush@gmail.com (that’s the address for submissions as well), follow us on Twitter @therinkrush or check out our webpage at http://therinkrush.wordpress.com.

You’ve not got a  huge amount of time. The closing date is the 31st October 2015 but we can make exceptions if we need to so please, please if you’ve got any questions or you want to send us something just get in touch.

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