After watching the same two teams play each other in Anyang the previous day, we thought we might as well watch the return fixture in Goyang. This was the final game of the regular season and whilst Anyang Halla had the play-offs to look forward to, this would be it for another seven months for the High1 players.
Goyang is a city to the north of Seoul and it involved a fair trip along Line 3 to Wondang subway station. I had my doubts as to whether a taxi driver would be aware that Goyang had an ice hockey team as most of them seem not to know of the existence of football clubs. Fortunately we struck lucky and the driver that eventually stopped for us knew of the ice rink. As it happened we could probably have walked it if we had known where we were. If you come out of the subway and then start walking in the busier looking direction, you can turn left after two or three hundred yards and in less than ten minutes you’ll be there.
There is a football pitch next to the rink. I think that Goyang’s third division team will probably play on it. There was actually a game going on whilst we were there, between teams wearing Barcelona and Liverpool kits. They had famous players names on the back of the shirts, although I must have missed the news of Lampard’s move to Anfield.
Goyang seemed to have a much more low-key set up than their opponents. There was a smaller crowd than the previous days game at Anyang and it was free to get in. It seemed much colder inside than the previous day too. They really should run the ice hockey season through the summer rather than winter as there are days in July when I’d happily pay a fortune to sit in a building with a sub-zero temperature. They wouldn’t even need to be any ice hockey for me to watch either, I’d be content just sat in the cold watching that ice-flattening tractor drive around.
The game was a bit more violent than the one the previous day, although a lot of the penalties looked to be for technical offences that I was unaware of. I should really have a bit better knowledge of the rules than I do as I watched quite a few games of ice hockey when I was a kid. My local team Billingham Bombers were reasonably successful and I had a friend who played for the junior team, the Bullets. He still plays now actually, not for the junior Billingham team, that would be a bit unfair, but for an over-forties team in Canada. I think he had a couple of teeth knocked out only a month or so ago.
The game went to form again with Anyang winning five-three to give themselves a lift for the play-offs whilst High1 finished off their season with a post-match photo session where a succession of fans made their way down on to the ice to be snapped with the players. I doubt I’ll make any of the play-off games, but I’ll probably be back when the football season finishes.