One Direction gig change angers Sheffield Steelers

One Direction
One Direction have had four number on UK hit singles

Sheffield Steelers have risked the wrath of One Direction fans by taking on the world's biggest boy band in a row over a postponed fixture.

The Elite League ice hockey side saw their away match against Belfast Giants at the SSE Arena postponed to allow the pop group to reschedule a concert.

Steelers owner Tony Smith called the postponement "unacceptable" and said it was "not the end of the matter".

One Direction postponed Tuesday's gig after singer Liam Payne fell ill.

Fans into the "hundreds" were left in tears when the event in Belfast was cancelled, but now they get to see their idols - at the expense of the ice hockey.

Sheffield Steelers go close against Belfast Giants in a league game earlier this month
Sheffield Steelers go close against Belfast Giants in a league game earlier this month

"We very, very much apologise to everyone," band member Harry Styles said after the cancellation of Tuesday's gig.

A new date for the ice hockey fixture has yet to be confirmed, but the Giants will offer fans who have bought tickets a full refund or entrance for the rearranged game.

Saturday's match between the sides at the SSE Arena will go ahead as planned.

Steelers' operations director Shaun Smith said: "We are disappointed that the game isn't proceeding not only for ourselves but for the many fans who have already booked their travel, hotel and game-night tickets.

"We believe this is a commercial decision taken by the arena in Belfast that will certainly inconvenience, disrupt and hurt financially both the club and our supporters."

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Belfast Giants Head of hockey operations Steve Thornton

SSE Arena general manager Neil Walker said: "We are extremely grateful to the Belfast Giants and Sheffield teams and apologise to their fans for the inconvenience caused."

Belfast Giants head of hockey operations Steve Thornton said that he understood the reasons why a "difficult and unusual decision" had been taken to postpone the game.

"It's one of the things that can happen to an arena team," said the Giants chief.

"It's happened to teams in the past. It hasn't happened very often and especially not at such short notice but it was a very, very unusual circumstance.

"The (concert) promoter and ourselves did everything we could to find other dates that would work (for One Direction) but in the end we had to go with what the arena and the promoter decided."

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