WILDCATS fans, I’m afraid to report that this week we hit a roadblock.
Let me explain. For the whole of this season we have brought you Ice Hockey Live on our website, which has enabled you to follow Swindon’s away matches via updates that myself and my fellow reporter Andy Warren have provided.
Quite clearly, we have had to be present at games in order to lay on this service.
Up until this week, gaining entry to away ice hockey matches has not been a problem, just a simple matter of sending an email or making a phone call, and we have been furnished with a press pass.
It’s simple and straightforward. Exactly how it should be.
Upon requesting entry for Sunday’s game at Milton Keynes, Andy was informed that this would not be possible.
He was told this was because the club’s policy is to charge every ‘away’ journalist or club reporter, despite offering press passes to local media.
With all due respect, ice hockey in this country is dwarfed in popularity by the likes of football, rugby and cricket and as a sport it needs all the publicity it can get.
You would have thought that a club in the second tier of British competition would want to do their utmost to promote not just themselves, but the sport as a whole. Apparently not.
Because we do not want to let down Swindon’s fans, we will pay the entrance fee and cover the match from the stands as best we can, but the point remains that MK’s stance is a damaging one.
I might also say that I have covered a huge variety of sporting competition during five years in journalism, from international to grassroots, and on no occasion has this ever happened.
From Swindon Town’s two recent Wembley finals to children’s six-a-side tournaments, never have I been refused a press pass.
That is because the vast majority of clubs and organisations understand one simple principle - we provide them with free publicity - a valuable commodity in these difficult economic times, and in return we are given entry.
It is a stance that MK would do well to adopt.