Bobby Streetly hopes home ice advantage can extend Leeds Chiefs’ season
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Having waited so long for the new rink to open, the Chiefs have quickly established a liking for their home ice and are hoping to use it to their advantage in a late dash for the NIHL National playoffs.
Of the 10 games they have remaining, the Chiefs – currently 12 points off a playoff spot – are set to play seven at home.
And, should they defy the odds and overhaul both Raiders IHC and tonight’s visitors Bracknell Bees in order to clinch the final playoff spot, another three home games would await, something that would be warmly welcomed by Leeds-born Streetly.
“I would love for us to extend the season by making the playoffs,” said the 25-year-old blue-liner. “We are definitely finding some form in there now and it’s a loud place to play when all the fans are going.
“It would be great if we could get ourselves three more games on home ice. We still believe we can win every game and we want to put on a good show for the fans.
“We want to win every game in that building and finish the season as strongly and as positively as we can and until we’re completely done and it is out of our control, we will push on regardless.”
After a season spent travelling around the UK due ton having no home ice, when the moment finally came to step out at Elland Road on January 31 for the first-ever game at the new facility against Sheffield Steeldogs, it was a particuarly special moment for Streetly.
He may not have been fit to play an active part in that particular game, due to his ongoing recovery from an upper-body injury that had kept him out since December, but he still dressed to ensure he was part of the occasion.
His first shifts as a Chiefs’ player in his hometown rink - - albeit short and few - came in the following week’s overtime win against Telford Tigers.
“When I first stepped out in a competitive sense, it was a bit surreal,” he recalls. “The atmosphere when we were out there, even just in the warm-up, you could sense the excitement around the rink.
“It was a special moment for me, being from Leeds. I’d obviously played in front of friends and family before, but never before in my hometown, so it was very special. “There were people there who had never really seen me play before and I had a lot of messages from people and others coming out to watch me, it was pretty cool.”