Ice Hockey All Stars Runner Up

The UK Forums Allstars is the largest charity ice hockey tournament in the UK. It started in 2008 with just two teams and in 2015 it had 8 teams with over 130 players.

The UK Forums Allstars is the largest charity ice hockey tournament in the UK. It started in 2008 with just two teams and in 2015 it had 8 teams with over 130 players.

Anyone can take part and there is a complete mixture of abilities on show from experienced league players to people who have never played a competitive game of hockey in their lives. The level of fundraising generated by a weekend of ice hockey is truly remarkable and by raising over £49,000 in 2014, that took the event through the £100,000 raised barrier since its inception.

I got involved by pure luck in 2013. A friend of mine had a place in the tournament but had to drop out at the last minute. In I came to take his place and I was added to the Dreams Come True roster.

In what is now my third Allstars year, I’m still representing Dreams Come True and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Not only is Dreams a fantastic charity that does some unbelievable work with the most deserving of families, the way the charity gets involved with the weekend is something that really sets it apart for me.

I met Claire and Wendy for the first time in 2014, they really got involved with the team, bringing goody bags and coming down to the changing rooms to congratulate us after every game. This really goes a long way and encourages everyone to push that bit more in the games.

Whilst trying to raise funds this year, I’ve spoken a lot with Claire and she’s been extremely supportive of my efforts, sending out fundraising packs, letters – pretty much anything I’ve asked of her and I’m enormously grateful for that!

When the weekend finally came around this year, the team were extremely excited to get on the ice. Some of us were old friends from previous years, a lot of us had never met before but as soon as pulled on the bright yellow of Dreams, we were friends and teammates. It was great to see Claire and Martin supporting us with the stand and all the goodies we got (including enough biscuits to sink a ship!!)

The games started well - a 3-0 victory against Breast Cancer Care and a 3-2 win against Sheffield Children’s Hospital put us joint top after 2 games. Tests against Help for Heroes and Autism Plus followed that unfortunately both resulted in 1-0 losses. This left us slightly deflated after a good start and left our chances of making the final hanging in the balance on Saturday evening.

Sunday morning came and we knew we had to come out strong for each other. As well as some rousing words from our captain, Adam Dadswell, we’d got the chance to meet some other fundraisers from the charity. They gladly pulled on some of last year’s jerseys that we’d brought along and took their seats in the stands. This got us really fired up for the opening game of the day against British Heart Foundation where we came away with a convincing 4-1 win. Then came the big one – the unbeaten team representing Blue Cross for Pets. They’d swept aside all challengers and we knew that if we realistically wanted a chance of making the final, we had to get something from this game. From the minute the puck dropped, the yellow jerseys of Dreams Come True were all over the ice battling for every inch we could get. Nobody in the building expected us to dominate the game but we came away with a 3-0 victory and were on cloud nine.

It all came down to our final round-robin game against Prostate Cancer UK. We were effectively playing for a place in the final and only a victory would do. After going 2-0 up about half way through the game we were almost there but a goal from Prostate Cancer made it an extremely nervous last few minutes. We hung on though and that was it – we’d done it. A place in the playoff final was ours.

The final came and we faced off against Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Our first game against them was extremely close and the final was no different. 0-0 at the end of regulation time meant a sudden-death penalty shoot-out which unfortunately for us, the Children’s Hospital team came out on top.

For a brief moment, we were all gutted. To get that close and not lift the trophy was sad but we all gathered around our goal for one last team hug and talk. We agreed that we’d done ourselves proud, we all battled for each other and wore the Dreams shirt with pride. And we also took a moment to remember that the Allstars Weekend isn’t all about lifting the trophy at the end. It’s about raising a lot of money for a lot of deserving people – and we were certainly all winners in that regard. Claire and Martin came down to the changing rooms to congratulate us on our efforts after the game and explained that the money we’d raised (just over £5,000) would help four or five children realise their dreams. Knowing that we’d been able to do that while playing the sport we love with some fantastic people is the best feeling anyone could ever give you and much more than lifting a trophy could ever mean.

I love everything that Dreams Come True represents, the work they do brings so much joy to families that otherwise have not really got a great deal to look forward to. Lots of the team have already said that they will be putting Dreams down as their first choice for Allstars 2016 and I’m no different. In the 3 years that I’ve played we’ve finished 6th, 4th and now 2nd. That can only mean one thing for next year, surely?

I’d like to thank all my teammates for a truly fantastic weekend but also Claire and Martin who really made it special for us with the level of support that they showed.

Michael Walsh

Dreams Come True #71

Share on:

Author: Hannah Attenburrow

Date: 05/08/2015

« Back to blogs