Interviewed February 1998
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Janet Valentine, I live in Oldham and I work in Manchester University!
What's the story behind you becoming a Manchester Storm fan?
I have always liked skating, and ice hockey, but had only seen ice hockey in the Olympics on TV. I thought of going to watch the Trafford Metros at Altrincham, because I skate there, but never got round to it. When the Storm arrived, I decided I'd definitely go, but I missed the first few home games. I started going at the end of October 1995. After that I only missed one home game (v Chelmsford in January 1996) and I attended both away games at Blackburn. Before that the only "live" hockey I'd seen was the one junior game at Blackburn Arena (Blackburn v Humberside), which I saw after skating at Blackburn one Sunday afternoon in about June 1994. My love of ice skating and hockey came from my (sadly) deceased grandparents who met at Derby Street Ice Palace (she skated, he was in the band) and who remembered the Manchester Rapids.
What's your favourite place to watch the matches in the Nynex Arena?
Block 109 (Seat K15)
How do away rinks that you've been to compare to the Nynex?
Blackburn Arena is a lot better than Altrincham as a skating rink, but is far inferior to Nynex as a spectator's arena in my view! I've also skated at Ryde Arena on the Isle of Wight (which is similar to Blackburn, but smaller). However I can't comment on the hockey there, not having seen any. I have also watched the Altrincham Aces a few times this past season, and though the rink isn't too good from a spectator-comfort point of view, I did enjoy the hockey I saw there. I have been to Sheffield - not bad, but not as good as Nynex!
What was your favourite player from last season?
Morin, Woody, Cooper and Lindsay.
What do you think of Lightning Jack?
Bit embarrassing, but the kids seem to love him!
John Hammond - the announcer?
He's OK, and by the way, it's spelt Jon, he's very fussy about that! I remember that at Christmas he was on It'll Be Alright On The Night where he was obviously presenting a local TV programme somewhere, and the conversation between him and a guy on the phone just got sillier and sillier and Jon was collapsing with laughter! Jon would be a hard act to follow if he ever left.
The video screens?
It doesn't show our block nearly enough! But it does help with replays etc.
I wonder if we'll get official ones? The unofficial ones are certainly enthusiastic.
Her name's Liz, but I don't know her surname! Maybe if you just call her Drummer Liz? She tends to be misunderstood, but she's very knowledgable about the game and is involved in Altrincham's hockey scene as well.
The ice-cream sellers?
Do you mean the one in particular who likes getting the crowd going? He hasn't persuaded me to part with a pound for a lolly!
What was your favourite game that you've seen so far?
The home playoff against Slough because it was such a tough and exciting one. I hear the draw against Paisley was exciting too, but it was early in the season and I missed it! I also enjoyed us beating Blackburn at home in February and the last game against Dumfries, more for the atmosphere than the game itself.
What was the worst?
I'm told that the Chelmsford game I missed was BORING, but I hated when we played Blackburn in November because it was the only time we lost at home.
Have you held up a sign? If so, what was on it?
Several! Most memorable being Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep for the visit of the Budgies in February (sorry Blackburn fans!).
Would you like to drive a Zamboni?
Nah, but I have been on the ice in the Shoot the Puck competition, and won a Storm shirt signed by Eternal for my trouble!
Have you ever ice skated before? Are you any good?
I got up to Grade 4 in Altrincham's figure skating classes. I also had some private lessons, and can do a very little bit of ice-dancing! I haven't had any lessons for a while now, but I still skate fairly regularly.
What's your favourite tune that gets played at the Nynex in between the action?
I like listening to Weather With You by Crowded House, which is played as we leave the Arena.
Do you have a favourite fight that has happened in a match?
Sometimes the fighting gets on my nerves, but the infamous Solihull game in January was one big fight, and absolutely hilarous!
Anything else we should know?
I've been in the "fan file" in the programme (season 1) and also contribute the occasional Altrincham Aces article to the programme these days.
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