Stars Start Season On The Road
BILLINGHAM STARSÂ return to the ice tomorrow evening with the first of two preseason challenge games as they make the long journey north to take on Scottish National League outfit Aberdeen Lynx.
It has been another busy summer off the ice as the Stars look to build a squad capable of challenging in an expanded National Ice Hockey League North Moralee Conference. The League is going to be stronger than ever with the addition of three promoted sides, and quality player signings by some teams have raised the bar once again. With their rivals upping their respective games, it was important that the Stars responded. Having finished second in both League and playoff competitions last season the emphasis has been on retaining the core of the squad with the notable addition of Swedish forward Dennis BostrÃ¶m, whose imposing frame should worry opposition defences.
The League gets underway with a home tie against reigning League and playoff champions Blackburn Hawks on 6th September, the two warm-up games against Aberdeen tomorrow evening and the visit of Sheffield Spartans to the Forum next Saturday will help the team get match fit as they look to hit the ground running. The trip to the Linx Ice Arena is a first for the Stars, the two sides having faced each other just once before in a challenge game last August in Billingham. The Lynx finished sixth in last seasonâ€™s SNL competition and should provide a stern test, especially in such unfamiliar surroundings. Billingham expect to travel with at least three lines, including BostrÃ¶m who has been training with his new team mates for the last week.
Director of Coaching Terry Ward sees the game as an ideal opportunity for the Stars to shake off the summer and get to know each other again:
Â â€œThe lads have looked really sharp in training, itâ€™s clear that many of them have kept up their fitness levels. We have a solid group of players who know each other well now, with other teams having recruited so well over the summer it is important that we use that familiarity to good effect. Our new guy Dennis has great speed and looks like he knows where the net is â€“ we just need to find the best combinations to utilise his skills. The trip to Aberdeen is a long one, but it gives the lads a chance to bond whilst also offering us the opportunity to play a competitive game of hockey.â€
Billingham travel to Aberdeen to take on the Lynx in a preseason challenge game tomorrow at the Linx Ice Arena, face off 7pm. The Stars are next in action at the Forum on Saturday 29th August with a challenge fixture against Sheffield Spartans, face off 6.30pm.