Last orders for the Hangover Cup ...

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It’s not called the Hangover Cup final for nothing.

Officially it’s the bronze game - the third-fourth place play-off which precedes the showcase final, but there isn’t a player or coach, and very few fans, who actually look forward to it.

You’ll find more fans sitting outside soaking up the Easter sun than you will in the arena at such an unearthly hour of day. Even the media can’t be bothered showing up.

For players, it’s worse.

A midday face-off means an hour’s prep before hand, so that means an even earlier check-out of hotels to get to the arena ... assuming they’ve made it to bed in the first place.

If there was a show of hands on whether to abolish the game, even those on the ice would be raised in support of the motion.

So why bother with it?

In the days of Wembley, the Sunday brunch slot was traditionally a junior final affair, sometimes a Scotland-England head to head.

No-one was brave enough – or daft enough – to ask the losing semi-finalists if they fancied playing one more game.

Midday, Sunday and Dundee Stars and Belfast Giants go through the charade of a check-free, plodding game of hockey which is forgotten even before the puck is dropped for the face-off.

There is zero pride in winning a bronze game.

There isn’t a single pro hockey player around who comes to the finals weekend looking for third place. It’s win or bust.

But still, the EIHL perseveres with this dog-eared, daft notion of a third-place game, as if it adds any extra value to the overall weekend ticket price.

It doesn’t.

They’d be as well leaving the arena empty until the showcase final, and let everyone sleep off the effects of a night in Bunkers Hill.

The alternatives have all been pitched and discarded.

A junior game means extra expense, accommodation and administration.

An all-star game - sounds good, but it’s a heck of a long time for players to hang around just to dipsy doodle around the rink for a few minutes.

So, let’s make this one the last one.

I feel for the players from Belfast and Dundee having to make some sort of effort to make it looks though they are trying.

They deserve their post-game beers and a chance to be together as a team, almost certainly for the last time, without one eye on the clock for this apology of a hockey game.