Northern Cup @ Blackburn
Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars make their first trip of the season to face Blackburn Hawks this Sunday night ( face off 17:45) in a hastily announced KD Flavell & Sons Welding Northern Cup game.
With the cup fixtures still subject to some last minute negotiations Billingham and Blackburn agreed to get the puck dropped and get the competition underway.
The Northern Cup will this year feature Billingham Stars, Sutton Sting, Manchester Minotaurâ€™s, Solway Sharks, and Blackburn Hawks. The competition will take the format of a five team mini league played throughout the season and will add four home and four away games to this yearâ€™s schedule.
Stars look unlikely to be at full strength for their first clash with the Hawks as Terry Ward explains;
â€œThe late scheduling has meant that some of the guys had not planned on playing this weekend and had committed to other things, we will travel with 3 good lines and as Coach I will play to the strengths of the guys who travelâ€.
â€œIt will be a good chance for some of our youngsters to shine; they will get ice time and show us what they are capable ofâ€.
â€œBlackburn had their strongest ever finish last year and took play off honours for the first time, they have held on to the core of last seasonâ€™s squad and added some quality new faces, and they will be a difficult prospect on their large home iceâ€.
Blackburnâ€™s league competition only got underway last weekend and the Lancashire side took the full four points coming from behind twice in a tight 4- 2 opener at Manchester followed the next night with a 6 â€“ 0 ill-tempered domination of the Sheffield Spartans.
Up front the Hawks major summer signing has to be playmaker Adam Brittle, with a decent English Premier League pedigree Brittle previously iced for Telford, Swindon, Wightlink and last season Milton Keynes Lightening. Hawks will also feature Latvian import Ivo Dimitrijevs who was part of Blackburnâ€™s play off title winning squad last season.
With a two way contract for Hull Elite young defender Scott Robson the Hawks must certainly fancy their chances of adding to last seasonâ€™s silverware.
To top a successful closed season the Hawks recently unveiled the involvement of Baxi and the confirmation of a number of other new sponsors.
Sunday nightâ€™s game at Blackburn faces off at 17:45.