It’s been thirteen years since the University of Sheffield’s ice hockey team beat Sheffield Hallam in the annual varsity fixture.
This Wednesday they hope to finally turn things around as they take on their rivals at the Fly DSA Arena.
The fixture is worth one point but it’s likely the overall winners of varsity will be decided before the night.
The University of Sheffield currently have a lead of 26-16 in the overall standings.
Captain for the university Will Paine said they’ve been working hard to try and end their losing streak against Hallam.
He said: “We’ve got a few different strategies we are working on that we didn’t do last year. However, that game was a step up from the year before, it was much closer.”
Paine now hopes he will be the captain who finally delivers the coveted victory.
He added: “It’d be an unbelievable feeling to win and we’ve got a lot of pressure to perform.
“The Hallam team is weaker than last year, so that might work in our favour. But they do play their systems well and they have a winning attitude.”
Player Solomon Smith is also feeling the pressure as the date of the big game draws closer.
He thinks that the various team-building exercises have brought the team closer together and says he is cautious of not letting the emotion of the game get to him.
He said: “On a personal level I got a bit carried away last year and let my emotions take hold of me. That got me kicked out of the game which led to our demise, and we lost the game after that.”
“We are prepared for an excited game. I expect us to come out on top, because we’ve got more to prove. We’ve got the underdog story and we are not expected to win. That releases some pressure and can put us in the right mindset to win.”
The match will take place in front of thousands of spectators in the arena. Besides the entire university standing behind them, members of the team expressed gratitude for friends and family members especially for cheering them on.
Smith added: “Our friends and family are extremely supportive. They all know hard it is: all of us have been playing hockey for a number of years, so coming to this stage, playing in front of 9 thousand fans is something they are very proud of.”
Watch the Sheffield Varsity 2019 Trailer below:
Featured image by University of Sheffield Ice Hockey Club