Devils fans praised for rescue efforts

Paul Fitzpatrick, centre. Picture: Paul Jacobs (1429-4)

Paul Fitzpatrick, centre. Picture: Paul Jacobs (1429-4)

Richard Facey  Picture: Dave Chapman

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Fans of the Solent Devils ice hockey team have been praised for their response to the club’s cash crisis.

The National Ice Hockey League south division one outfit were rocked when chairman Sean Coleman suddenly left the club.

As reported in The News last week, his departure put a major dent in the Devils’ budget and raised fears over team’s very future.

But staff, players and fans have rallied around to ensure the club will survive into the new year – when a run of home fixtures will be crucial to their long-term survival.

Team manager Paul Fitzpatrick has been delighted with the reaction to the adversity, which included a 10-2 win over Oxford City Stars at the Gosport Arena on Sunday.

He said: ‘I just want to thank everyone associated with the club for everything they have done over the past week.

‘They have been putting on fundraisers and donating everything they can to help.

‘The club’s future is now secure until the new year.

‘We have five home games in January, so hopefully we can get some big crowds in and that will really help.

‘The players have been fantastic and haven’t let this affect them at all.

‘They will keep playing and hopefully keep winning.’

While the Devils have staved off the immediate threat of mounting costs, they remain on the lookout for crucial new investment to shape the club’s long-term future.

Fitzpatrick added: ‘A new management team will lead the club forward.

‘We’ve had no secret millionaire come forward yet but we hope that investment can be found soon.’

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