Ready, set, go! Whilst hockey has been back for a few weeks in the form of the Champions Hockey League, this weekend kicks off the 2017/18 UK season with a Challenge Cup game against the Milton Keynes Lightning and Guildford Flames.
This will be the Lightning and Flames debut in the EIHL, after confirming their membership in the league at the end of last season and won’t be lacking motivation going into this weekend.
We’ve got plenty of motivation of our too. Our amazing win of Davos should’ve left the players feeling ten-feet tall and we’re defending our Challenge Cup trophy. Do we actually need to defend it though? Hockey legend has it that it the rightful owner of the Challenge Cup each year will be the one whose roster possesses the name of Matthew Myers. Strange but true that.
It’ll be a pretty special night on Saturday as our League and Cup championship banners are raised at the IAW so get there early!
Here’s @cardiffdevilfan with a rundown on our opponents:
Milton Keynes decided to join the top league after finishing runner-up and then winning the playoff championship in the league last season. The Lightning have won three league championships since 2002, a year which triggered their most successful period where up until 2006, they won the playoffs each year and one of their league wins. All this adds up to an impressive history and they certainly seem ready to make the step up into the EIHL.
MK are going to need more than just a striking record if they are to raise a threat for the Devils however. They will need the players to back it up and they know it! Over the offseason Milton Keynes have signed familiar faces such as Miika Wiikman (goalie), Guillaume Doucet (forward) and Matt Nickerson (defence).
Doucet, who will be visiting the IAW for the first time since last season, tallied up 33 points last season for the Devils helping us grab the league title. Nickerson, an ex Belfast Giant, will add an element of strength to the roster. The Lightning have also grabbed ex-Cardiff Devils Denny Kearney and Carl Hudson, who should be in for a warm welcome back at the IAW.
The Devils make their first road of the UK season on Sunday visiting Guildford Flames where there’ll be another ex-Devil among the ranks.
Goalie Mike Will re-turned to the Flames this summer after playing for the club last season. Whilst MK Lightning have recruited heavily, the Flames appear to have largely kept faith with last season’s roster – a decision which might backfire.
Bentivoglio Martin Pope
Asselin Ulmer Haddad
Lord Myers Faryna
Batch Crowder Morrissette (Moore)
Sat: SHF @ MAN 7:00 pm, MIL @ CAR 7:00 pm, COV @ NOT 7:00 pm, GUI @ BEL 7:00 pm
Sun: NOT @ SHF 5:00 pm, MAN @ COV 5:15 pm, BEL @ MKL 5:30 pm
CAR @ GUI 6:00 pm
Dai Sport preview here