Rishabha 4, 2078, m249
ISMO officials have released a statement early today recanting their original decision not to support a finale to tie-break the Wildcards and Moles after the 2nd round of exhibition hockey.
“We value the support fans have shown since ISMO launched this series of exhibition hockey games,” read the official announcement released by ISMO CEO, Seulovik. “We are proud of the community that we have built. And as a sign of respect for our fans and athletes, we will officially participate with a play-off match between the two leaders from Round 2.”
Though this is great news, allowing the players to officially play with the actual team names and regulation equipment owned by ISMO, it is an equally awkward predicament. The unsanctioned match was already going to happen with or without ISMO's involvement. Donations from fans had already covered costs for producing equipment and uniforms. The teams had already come up with alternative team names to avoid copyright infringement.
When asked about the development, Janice Campbell of the Moles said, “It is a step in the right direction for ISMO. The success of Martian Ice Hockey is dependent on the athletes and the fans after all. They shouldn’t forget that.”
Regardless of whether ISMO was genuinely acquiescing to their fans or not, it was the only move to save face. Seulovik’s original decision had painted him as a “party-pooper”, so this change in heart is a not-too-subtle effort to salvage his own image. In many ways, the damage has already been done and closing the rift may not come easy. Europa organizers are said to be 'deflated' as they preferred to run the event independent of ISMO.
Politics aside, this upcoming game is going to be an all-stops-pulled out one-nighter of an event! The match was planned by the respective teams and Europa officials for Rishabha 14. It has been confirmed that this date will not change with the sudden involvement of ISMO.
To accommodate the massive number of fans, the game will be broadcast live across the settlements, but that won’t stop fans from travelling to Europa to participate in the excitement first-hand.
“We are expecting a sharp spike in the number of inhabitants we will need to sustain during this time,” explains Europa officials, “We’ll be diverting resources leading up to the event to make sure that we’ll have enough capacity up to 3 days.”
In Europa, public spectator-spaces will include the: The Daedelus Sports Hall, Schiaperelli Centre, Greeley’s and The Dusty Pig. So if you’re planning to be in Europa for the game, these are the places to be!
Ice time at Europa Rink has been equally divided and both teams will be training hard this week as they prepare for their face-off.
“We’re going to bring everything we’ve got. We’re going to train hard, stay focused, and go for the win,” says Samuel Marquez, captain of the Wildcards.