Mark Woodcock comes to us from the United Kingdom and happens to be a rare breed of fan. By that I mean, a fan of of the Phoenix Coyotes. I had to get into the mind of a Phoenix fan. (No disrespect to Manchester haha).
March Hockey: Where are you located and how did you get into hockey?
Mark Woodcock: I live in a small town called Macclesfield not too far from Manchester Airport and really got into hockey from birth, by my parents. My mum was a physio for our local Ice Hockey team the Trafford Metro’s so, my brother and I, went to hockey games in the pram! It was natural that I began to play the sport too, have loved the game ever since!
MH: What makes you a passionate fan of the Manchester Phoenix?
MW: They are my team, I have been a supporter of Ice Hockey in/around Manchester since my birth and, the Phoenix are the current incarnation. I have been their since the birth of the current Phoenix and, through the two years the team were put on ice while a new Ice Rink was built. There is a real community and fan orientated passion about this club. A shared sense of pain through the years that stands the club in a good place for the future.
MH: Who is the one player that really stands out on the team and why?
MW: I was going to say one of the import forwards, you know the guys who score all the goals. But at this level players don’t usually stick around for multiple seasons. There is one name, however, that has stuck around, possibly the greatest hockey player our small island has produced, Tony Hand. While he may be the wrong side of 40 this man still puts up multi point games every season. He is the lifeblood of the club, any player who is on the same line as him, will have a career year in points! I’m sure I could score 100pts a season if he was assisting!
MH: How does the EPIHL do in terms of fan interaction?
MW: The EPL is largely a development league so is only really semi-professional. That goes for the off-ice staff as well as the players, as a result the fan interaction can only go as far as a small budget will allow. That being said clubs do their very best. Everyone will do a meet the players event, Christmas parties and end of season parties. Along with numerous player signings after a game for example. So, I guess, there is quite a good level of interaction.
MH: How are your feelings towards the whole Phoenix Coyotes saga?
MW: That it has been one long saga that was unecessary! Now it is over I am extatic, happy the fans of Arizona have some closure and security in supporting their NHL team and, so glad the internet trolls have not got their way. I am convinced hockey in the desert can succeed. Under the NHL’s (non-existent) direct the Coyotes have been a consistent post season performer and, captured their first conference title the season before last. That shows the team is capable. Now they have a secure ownership, the rest of the NHL should be worried. Given the sucess the Coyotes have had during this turbulence, imagine what could happen with stable ownership and $$’s to spend!
MH: Do you think they should be relocated? Why or why not?
MW: No, and they wont! The team can and will be a success in Arizona! Their are plans to rename to the Arizona Coyotes much like the NFL and MLB teams have done. This should work in broadening their appeal across the state and, let’s face it, the Coyotes have not played in Phoenix for many years now!
MH: Favourite player on the Yotes and why?
MW: Has to be Shane Doan, Mr Consitency and dedication. He could have taken much more money and moved away but the guy has stayed faithful and the club have rewarded him. If the hockey gods have any decency in them, they will reward this loyalty!