Invicta Dynamos express regret after clashes between fans and players halt game
KENT ice hockey club Invicta Dynamos has expressed its regret at the abandonment of last night's game against Cardiff Devils following clashes between fans and players.
The fixture at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Gillingham was halted following a number of confrontations between the visiting side and home fans in the crowd.
In a statement posted on the club website this morning, the organisation restated its commitment to providing a safe environment for hockey at its Medway home.
"The Invicta Dynamos' first clash of a double header weekend was abandoned in the 35th minute on Saturday evening after a number of on and off ice issues saw the Cardiff ENL Devils unwilling to complete the tie," the statement reads.
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"The club must now await the decision of the EIHA with regards to the outcome of the fixture.
"The Invicta Dynamos are committed to making hockey in Gillingham a family friendly environment and cannot condone the involvement of fans in any action against the visiting team."
Following the incident the club are liaising with the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA).
Invicta Dynamos director Jackie Mason said on Monday: "We have been advised by the EIHA today that the incidents at Saturday's game are under review it would therefore be inappropriate to comment at this time."
One supporter inside the venue, who spoke to This is Kent on condition of anonymity, described the scenes as "the most disgusting game of ice hockey" he had ever witnessed.
The fan said: "When the main incident occurred I noticed three Dynamo supporters who were shouting at the Devils players as they exited the ice, and started making threats towards them.
"One of the three supporters went crazy and started trying to charge towards the Devils players. He was later restrained and told to leave the club.
"In defence of the Devils, if anyone questions stick use by the Devils players, the only stick use I saw was to push the supporters away from attacking them."
However, equally, it is unacceptable for players or staff to react to any provocation, especially in a dangerous manner that involves the use of their hockey stick."
The trouble at the English National League game began midway through the second period when, following an on-ice fight, Cardiff player David Sadler's return to the away bench was followed by an altercation with a fan which, in the words of the home team, "escalated beyond a reasonable level".
This incident forced the delay of the game while a section of the stand behind the Welsh team's bench was cleared.
Minutes later violence flared up again, with both sides being dispatched to their dressing rooms following a 10-man 'line brawl' involving players from both teams. The Cardiff team then refused to return to the ice and as a result the match was abandoned.
On its website the club said: "The Invicta Dynamos regret the unsatisfactory conclusion of the fixture for both fans and players alike and will make a further statement when the EIHA have confirmed their decision on the outcome of the tie."
Were you at the game in Gillingham last night? Do you have pictures or video of the events inside the Silver Blades Ice Rink? Then email email@example.com or tweet @rhysdgriffiths.