Club news

Support 25 benefit game a huge success

Genting Casino Coventry Blaze proudly hosted the Support 25 benefit game against the Sheffield Steelers at the Skydome Arena last night.

The match in aid of the Support 25 campaign, launched to help raise funds for one of Coventry’s greatest ever players, Adam Calder who is required to seek cancer treatment not available on the NHS.

A supportive crowd and a number of Adam’s former teammates were in attendance to watch two periods of fun 3-on-3 play and a skills competition contested by both teams.

Before the game even started, the #Support25 campaign appropriately surpassed the £25,000 mark through the amazing generosity of the hockey community, the 25 for 25 auction, commemorative jersey sales and other fundraising initiatives.

The support for Adam has been quite overwhelming with fellow Elite League clubs donating fantastic prizes to auction, the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL dedicating their alumni game to their former player and the likes of Milton Keynes and Swindon Wildcats of the EPL carrying out fundraising raffles. The generosity of a great number of individuals, with too many to mention has been incredible and we thank each and every one of you who has contributed to Support 25, however big or small, every little counts.

With so many people wanting to help, we still have a range of outstanding donation items which we will be selling to continue to raise the fund total for Adam. There will likely be a pop-up shop on a Blaze match night, and buy-it-now/quick fire auctions carried out over the next few days/weeks so please keep an eye on @Support25Calder for full details.

With thanks to all of those who came to the game last night, here’s some highlights through the photography of the excellent Scott Wiggins.

25 goals for #25

Genting Casino Coventry Blaze were victorious by a score of 14-11.

Unconfirmed reports that Sheffield signed Ovechkin

Steelers' #28 Zack Fitzgerald was one of the stars of the show, entertaining and engaging with the crowd. Cheers Fitzy.

Goals and Man of the Match performances by #13 Matterson and #72 Thompson

Each scoring and picking up the Man of the Match award, we congratulate Coventry Blaze Academy players #13 Lorrence Matterson and #72 Ross Thompson.

#74 Liam Stewart attempts a penalty-shot as Scorch

Goalie vs. Goalie in the shoot-out

Sheffield's Brad Day taking a dive to try and beat Blaze's Renny Marr before Brian Stewart took the opportunity to score on his opposite number and help Blaze win the penalty shots competition.

Everyone got a game

Even the linesmen James Kavanagh and Simon Kirkham. We thank them, and referee Stefan Hogarth for officiating and supporting the game.

Once in a life-time opportunity for Andrew Webb

Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart had a new assistant coach for the night, Andrew Webb who won the opportunity through the 25 for 25 auction. We thank Andrew for the support.

Friends re-united

Adam was joined in the CrownGate SkyLounge by a large number of his past teammates in Coventry including Michael Tasker, Tom Watkins, Matty Soderstrom, Derek Campbell and Jonathan Weaver to name but a few.

Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart

Speaking on behalf of Adam Calder, Danny said on the ice post-game:

“We always hear about the hockey culture and staying strong and being a small family and I don’t think it took much for these players to show up tonight, so thank you to all of the guys from both teams. I’d also like to take this time to thank Rob Plaister and Craig Summerton, those two guys did an unbelievable job on the Support 25 campaign, day-in, day-out for 25 days straight, I know speaking to Rob he’s been a mental case every day but he’d do it all over again. They did an amazing job and deserve a round of applause as well. Also, last but not least the fans again, the support we’ve received to support Calds in what he’s going through is unbelievable, it’s exceeded all expectations and trust me, I know Adam’s very admirable for what you guys have done for him so thank you.”

Sheffield Steelers Head Coach Paul Thompson

Thompson, who won eight major trophies with Calder in Coventry said to the Coventry Observer: 

“Adam helped changed the Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey club to be the winning team it was and continues to be. I’m very proud to be here to support Adam in what is a tough time for him. We won a lot of trophies together and he was my captain. He’s been through a tough couple of years but hockey fans from across the UK and Coventry must take a lot of credit for putting this event on. The hockey family is a very tight one. Even though Sheffield and Coventry will be going to war with each other on Saturday and Sunday it doesn’t mean that we don’t support each other off the ice. It’s great we can come together and raise funds for Adam, everyone involved should be very proud of themselves.”

Blaze Media Manager Rob Plaister

Media Manager, and one of the leads of the Support 25 campaign, Rob Plaister concluded:

“It was a great night. Adam was obviously very emotional; the support he has had from Blaze and hockey fans worldwide has been truly immense. We are in the process of gathering all the funds together through the different revenue streams, this will take at least a day or two to work out but we have definitely smashed the initial target of £25,000.”

Thank you Sheffield Steelers

Finally, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze and the Support 25 campaign would like to place on record our sincere thanks to the Sheffield Steelers organisation, players and coaching staff for giving up their time to play in the benefit game and support Adam.