Devils show spirit in adversity

Solent Devils celebrate a goal earlier this season. Picture: Dave Chapman
Solent Devils celebrate a goal earlier this season. Picture: Dave Chapman
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Darrin Laishley insists the spirit of the Solent Devils remains strong despite their fight for survival.

The Gosport Arena club have been plunged into financial turmoil following the departure of chairman Sean Coleman.

With a budget of £10,000 to hit, the heat is on for them to find new investment to keep their National League south division one season alive.

Bench coach Laishley revealed club members and fans have been rallying around in a bid to fill the void and ensure financial obligations are met.

Their efforts – and the compassion shown by rink owners Planet Ice – have been crucial to safeguarding the Devils’ future to this point as a major sponsor is sought.

What will happen beyond the home showdown with strugglers Oxford City Stars on Sunday remains uncertain.

But Laishley has been buoyed by the character shown by everyone connected with the club during a tough time.

‘Due to the lack of incoming investment, the club as a whole have rallied together,’ he said.

‘Friends and families of the players are carrying out all sorts of events at home games to raise funds.

‘With events such as tombolas, raffles and the chance of winning the golden goal, they are working hard to keep the club going.

‘We are trying to make a show when you come down and watch home games.

‘The atmosphere is absolutely fantastic, the team’s work ethic is great and their performances are infectious.

‘The original overhead we need to clear is about £10,000 for the year.

‘A lot of this is generated from the club itself.

‘Some of this has already been paid back through sponsorship or the subscriptions of players.

‘We just need that one big sponsor really.’

Paying the bills, which include rink hire, referees, security and player expenses, remains the top priority for the Devils.

But Laishley insists the Forest Way outfit are also looking for an investor who is hungry to become part of the club and help shape its long-term future.

The Devils currently offer the perfect progression for youngsters who are keen to skate into adult hockey from the junior outfit – Solent & Gosport Ice Hockey Club.

This is key to the development of the game in the region.

And Laishley explained the club are looking for someone to buy into that.

‘The biggest dent to the club’s budget is paying for their time on the ice,’ added the bench coach.

‘The rink hire as well as paying for referees and security at home games – all these expenses add up.

‘But we are not necessarily looking for someone to donate money from their pocket to us.

‘We’re looking for someone to join the team and become a part of our organisation – someone who wants to join our developing programme.’

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