DUBAI // It is not every day that a hockey player takes part in a veritable double-header, but that is effectively what transpired on the final night of the Emirates Hockey League season at the Dubai Mall rink on Wednesday.
Because of issues with ice conditions and rink equipment, a three-game championship series was shortened to two games - with a little extra added at the end to break a tie. And even that wasn’t enough, as it turned out.
After losing the series opener to the Al Ain Vipers on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai Camels roared back to tie the series with a 3-1 victory Wednesday night in Dubai, to force an extra game immediately afterward.
With the ice availability an issue, the teams earlier in the week agreed to play a 20-minute “mini-game” in the event of a 1-1 series split, but even that did not settle things. With Al Ain two minutes from winning the title in the extra period, Dubai scored for a 1-1 tie, prompting the addition of a 10-minute sudden-death session.
Dubai scored on a power-play situation midway through the 10-minute period to defend their league title, becoming the first team to win the EHL championship twice.
Given that the teams had played the night before in Abu Dhabi, that meant the equivalent of three games in a span of about 26 hours for players on both teams, who are going to need the long off-season to recuperate.
“Basically, the sudden death was the fifth period of the night, and by then, everybody was exhausted,” Al Ain’s Kevin Emore said on Thursday afternoon. “There were some heart attacks waiting to happen out there.
“The guys were surprisingly mobile, considering. But we’re all feeling it today.”
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE