As the Off On A Tangent series of fan reviews draws to a close it’s the turn of Invicta Dynamos under the spotlight. With his team placed second in last years NIHLS1 and crowned play off champions, IDF (Invicta Dynamos Fan) takes us through his thoughts.
He first started watching Invicta when he moved to Medway seven years ago and has been a loyal supporter ever since. Like the two fans in the previous reviews it was the excitement, grit and determination shown throughout the game that attracted him to watching. As he says ‘There is nothing like watching the end to end rushes, ending in a highlight reel goal to get you on your feet’
IDF has chosen the 2008/2009 season as his favourite so far as a hockey fan when the Mo’s were ENIHL Southern and National champions. It was a great team with both talent and character.
As a member of the Mo’s ‘barmy army’ his stand out moment from last season was the playoff final second leg at Chelmsford. Dynamos held an incredible five-goal lead from the first leg but conceded after only seven seconds. Chelmsford were at their brilliant best for most of the game and got the lead down to one goal before Scott Bailey and Callum Fowler scored to take the pressure off in the third period. The feeling of relief when the final buzzer sounded was incredible. The celebrations afterwards were something that this particular Invicta fan will always remember.
In agreement with the previous two reviewers IDF feels the new league set up is lop sided to say the least which he feels is a shame as the previous NIHLS was such a competitive and sustainable league where there were often upsets to expected outcomes. The facts that the ex-EPL teams had no salary caps placed on them and have made little effort to down grade their teams means that the NIHL teams are all going to struggle.
IDF doesn’t think that the new set up is a long-term solution and that one of two things will happen. Either the EPL teams will decide that this league is not good enough for them and break away to form their own league or teams such as Invicta, Streatham and London will get smashed week in, week out and request a drop to NIHL2.
Even though he doesn’t see the league working well IDF believes that the NIHL clubs did the right thing accepting the ex-EPL teams into the league or they would have had nowhere to play and nobody wanted to see them go under. However, he did think that the league chairman could have done more to protect the NIHL teams and put more restrictions in place to prevent the EPL teams spending so much. One of the side effects of the current set up is that the bigger teams have been able to poach the top players from their previous clubs by offering better contracts. All this has a destabilising effect on the new league.
Invicta’s roster seems weaker than last year according to IDF although it’s still early days. The club’s habit of drip-feeding signings is frustrating particularly as it looks like the team has only signed one player so far that has recent EPL experience in Chamberlain. Lots of quick and exciting youngsters have been signed up but the fear is the higher-level players will quickly capitalise on their inexperience. Additional EPL standard players need to form part of the team such as Callum Fowler as this is vital to a successful season.
Although he’s a little disappointed in the level of some of the signings so far, IDF feels that the influence and presence of netminder Damian King will be huge if he can stay fit. Damian was massively instrumental in winning many games last season and kept the team with a fighting chance in many more.
With Callum Fowler yet to be announced, IDF believes he will be a huge loss if he doesn’t sign. He knows the club and despite being a bit feisty he can always bring the fans to their feet and light the lamp.
When I asked about the coaching set up at Invicta, IDF thinks Kevin Parrish gets a raw deal from a lot of fans but he always has the clubs best interests at heart. You can’t like everything a coach does and IDF hates the way signings are revealed but as Parrish is the head coach, it’s done his way. Prone to the occasional melt down the head coach is often criticised by some but IDF accepts that’s just the way it is!
As far as the competition is concerned this season IDF predicts London Raiders will be the Mo’s greatest rivals as they now have Sean Easton as their head coach and will be looking to move forward. They have signed a lot of players from Chelmsford who have winning experience and could even give the EPL teams a run for their money at home. IDF also mentions how much he enjoys the banter with the Raiders fans and in an aside says they probably have the second best social team out there (behind Mo’s of course!)
IDF is refreshing in that he’s looking forward to all the games this season. The NIHL games will be competitive and Dynamos should get a few wins from them but he’s also looking forward to seeing the skill levels of the new teams especially Basingstoke Bison who have a lot of quality and have added to it with ex Mo’s players Elliott Dewey and Ashley Jackson.
As an ardent fan IDF feels that he will support the team no matter what, even if they dropped down a league. He loves travelling to away games with the noisy and team-motivating barmy army and he says nothing will stop that even if the team are getting hammered.
Joking that either ‘staying in the league’ or ‘winning a game’ will be the big challenges for this season IDF thinks staying competitive and keeping the fans entertained will be testing for the club. Trying to not only attract new fans but keeping hold of the some of the casual ones will be hard if the league is as one sided as it looks at the moment.
I asked all three fans what could be done to improve their club or to help meet the challenges of the future. After joking that signing Conor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) would help, IDF said he hopes that the club will be more receptive to fundraising ideas from fans to help move the club forward. He’d also like to see more of a partnership with the two local football teams (Gillingham FC and Maidstone United), which could bring new fans.
In terms of a prediction for the coming season IDF thinks Invicta will struggle to get out from the bottom three alongside Milton Keynes and Cardiff. This is however based on current signings and comparisons with other teams, which could all change with roster space still available. A couple of key additions could make all the difference. Whatever happens you can expect the Invicta Dynamos fans to be noisy and passionate when the season begins.
So as the third and final fan review draws to a close all that remains to say is thank you to IDF for a great interview and good luck to the Invicta Dynamos for the coming season in the new look NIHLS1.
Now, can we have some fixtures please so we can all start planning our winter season?! 🙂
photo credit David Trevallion