Chris Blight - Blog Part 14

18th Jan 2013 | Posted by Chris Blight

Unsung Hereos

For this edition of my blog I thought I’d give some credit where credit is most certainly due. A hockey team is comprised of around 20 guys and most of the time only a few get credit when the team is having success but in reality it takes a lot of different contributions from different guys.

First on the list is Mark Smith. This guy, much like his brother, is a consummate pro. He comes to the rink every day, works harder than anyone there and goes home and does whatever he does! He is a quiet guy away from the rink but is extremely intense at it. He may be the best shot blocker in the history of the game. I have never seen anything like it in my life. I know Phil likes having him around!

Second is Kenton Smith. Same as Mark he is a pro. They both can be found fully dressed sitting beside each other 30 minutes before every game not saying a word. I’m sure they are thinking about the game and wondering which one will block more shots that night. The amount of odd man rushes Kenton breaks up that could easily be goals for the other team probably goes unnoticed by most fans but not the guys in the room.

Luke Piggot, or Piggsy, gets a lot of credit for what he does off the ice which is certainly most deserved for what he has accomplished in his field. However, on the ice he is another guy that comes to the rink to work every day. He could easily quit playing and focus on his other career which is certainly more lucrative then playing for the Devils, yet he still comes to the rink every day with a smile on his face and works his hardest. He clearly loves the game and his positive energy is so vital to our dressing room.

Adam Harding believe it or not is not a member of one direction. Instead he is a 20 year old British hockey player playing in the top league in the UK. Sometimes I forget he just turned 20, and then I talk to him and remember quickly! His commitment level is admirable. He doesn’t drink during the season. Not even after a big win. He wants to be a great player and he works to be a great player. I think he is one to watch over the next few years.

Josh Batch is another young guy in the room that I admire. He took some heat earlier in the year for his play on defence which for a guy his age wasn’t bad but I guess more was expected from him. He was put on forward recently and has proven to be quite effective as a power forward. He has gone from a 6th defensemen to a top 6 forward/point a game player and all the way never complained about his situation once. He has taken everything this year in stride and made the most of his situation. That is something that is not easily done. He even fought one of the tougher guys in the league and did extremely well. Something I’m sure his dad Kevin (who is an ex-boxer) was extremely proud of I’m sure.

Phil Hill is a player that many would probably be surprised to see on my unsung heroes list but I think he is easily forgotten by many fans. Hilly has been a member of GB for the past 5 years and we are lucky to have one of the best British players on our team. A lot of the talk this year has been about the emergence of Ben Davies, and rightfully so, however we shouldn’t forget the contributions that Hilly has made for the past 12 years to the Cardiff organisation. Much like the Smith’s, he is a consummate pro and comes to work every day. He’s a great example for the young guys and a key member of our team and team GB.

Franny, Neil Francis, is another guy that gives a lot to the devils organisation. He is a great recruiter and very persistent. I know this because he was talking to me for 3 years before I came here. I was worried he would lose interest but lucky for me he did not. He has a young family and works a full time job yet never misses a game, even the long road games. He is 100% committed to the organisation and is constantly working to make us a better team.

Macky, the original Renegade, is the best equipment manager I have had in Europe. We are lucky to have him. He does an incredible job down at the BBT, especially considering what he has to work with down there. It is no secret that we need a new arena. Considering the tight confines of our dressing room Macky does an incredible job of making it look professional down there and I know the guys all appreciate it.

Gerad Adams, G, has the hardest job in pro sports in my opinion. I didn’t know what to expect before I came as it is the first time I have had a coach who is also a player. It is hard enough being one of those let alone doing both at the same time. To gain the respect of your teammates from both the player side and the coach side seems like an impossible task for me yet he has managed to excel at both. He is under a tonne of pressure from every angle imaginable and yet he keeps it together and continues to be the strong presence needed in the dressing room. I don’t think people realize how hard it is to do what he does. I can’t think of any coach I’ve had that could pull off playing as well as coaching.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all the positive fans out there that support us through the good times and the bad. This is not a knock on the fans that like to be negative as we completely understand where you are coming from. You pay your money to come to the games and have a right to say what you are feeling. As an athlete we understand that we have to take the bad with the good. However, to the fans that are always positive and willing to go the extra mile for any of us at any time we truly appreciate it. Thanks again John and Katrina for helping me out with my sister this past week!

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