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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2006, 11:00 GMT
Ice problems stop Devils' match
Patch of ice at the arena
The game was abandoned because of "bad ice"
The first ice hockey match at Cardiff's temporary rink was called off at short notice after problems with the ice.

Cardiff Devils were due to play their first home match at the arena against Newcastle Vipers on Saturday after the rink's official opening on Friday.

Supporter Glyn Dunnit said up to 2,000 fans queued and were told an hour before face-off that the game was off.

A Cardiff Devils spokesman said they were "very disappointed" but said the rink operators did all they could.

Mr Dunnit, from the Save our Ice Rink Committee, said management told fans there were "mega problems" with the ice.

This included the sand base coming through in four or five patches on the brand-new rink.

We are very disappointed that this has happened but we can assure fans the game planned for this Wednesday will go ahead
Cardiff council

Among the disappointed supporters were a coach load who had travelled from Newcastle.

The official reason for the postponement was "bad ice".

The new temporary rink, which is being funded by Cardiff Council, was built after the old Wales National Ice Rink was demolished as part of the city centre St David's 2 shopping scheme.

The new 2,000-seat capacity rink is expected to be place for between three to five years when it will be replaced by a permanent facility which will have a minimum seating capacity for ice hockey of 4,000 people.

Cardiff Devils fan
Fans were told shortly before face-off the match was postponed

There has been criticism over the delays in setting up the temporary rink from management of the Devils, who had been forced to play all their matches away from home since September.

Cardiff and Newcastle are due to play a return match in Newcastle on Sunday night.

Phil Thomas, from the Cardiff Devils management, said they were "very disappointed" that Saturday's match did not go ahead.

He said: "It seems to us everything was done in a last minute rush. The pitch was not suitable for the players to play on."

Mr Thomas said the decision was made between the match officials and both the clubs.

He added: "In fairness to Planet Ice, the operators of the rink, they have tried as hard as they can to get the game on.

"I lay this at the council's door. I don't know how you can open an ice rink on a Friday and it will be suitable to play on Saturday."

Nick Mooney
Newcastle fan Nick Mooney travelled hundreds of miles for the game

Mr Thomas said he expected the Newcastle supporters would be seeking compensation from the Devils and they in turn would have to seek compensation from the council.

Newcastle fan Nick Mooney was one of many to make the 325-mile trip to Cardiff.

He said: "We could see straight away the ice wasn't ready to play on - we were very surprised when we were able to get the tickets.

"We are looking at 100 and then getting money back for the tickets, it's not cheap."

"It's frustrating, they are all blaming each other - someone's just going to have to take responsibility for I and then hopefully we'll get our money back."

Cardiff Council issued a statement jointly with Planet Ice, the rink's operators, and Ice Associates, the contractors.

It read: "Following strenuous efforts by everyone working around the clock, all parties were confident that the ice would be ready.

"Unfortunately despite the best efforts of all involved, the referee ruled that the match could not be played.

"We are very disappointed that this has happened but we can assure fans the game (against Manchester) planned for this Wednesday will go ahead."

The spokesman said tickets for Saturday's postponed match would either be valid for the rescheduled match or refunded if fans were unable to attend.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Watch Vipers fans Nick Mooney on the postponement



SEE ALSO
Cardiff temporary ice rink opens
01 Dec 06 |  South East Wales
Devils ready to fire in new lair
30 Nov 06 |  Ice Hockey

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