COVENTRY, UK – The dawn of the new season brings together two rivals who battled to the bitter end last time around for a pass to the post-season.
When the final game of the season dawned Dundee and Braehead were separated by just two points, however when the final horn sounded it was the same pair of points that cost Dundee a place in the playoffs and sent Braehead through.
Now the two will open up their campaigns, as well as the new season, by locking horns on Saturday night at the Braehead Arena.
The summer has been a busy one for both teams but Braehead have had more work to do with the addition of a new head coach. Ryan Finnerty joined the staff over the summer from the Sheffield Steelers and brought with him Lee Esders and Chris Frank from the Steel city.
Dundee have new signings of their own, however returning for another year at the helm and on the forward line will be Jeff Hutchins, the 5 foot 9 Canadian returns for his second season in Dundee and will be hoping to continue the form that pushed him just short of a point every other games last time around.
Elsewhere on Saturday defending league, playoff and challenge cup champion Nottingham Panthers open up their defence at home to the Hull Stingrays. The Odyssey Arena opens up its doors for the first time in the regular season as Belfast welcome Edinburgh across the Irish Sea and Coventry begin their new tenure under Matt Soderstrom’s stewardship at home to the Sheffield Steelers, who will also have new head coach Doug Christiansen making his debut behind their bench.
Finally Fife will play host to Cardiff.
Sunday’s main focus will be on Sheffield and the first game at the Motorpoint Arena since its multi-million pound summer redevelopment. New seats, colours, boards, scoreboard and plexi-glass will take their bow, along with many new faces for the home town Steelers and who provides the opposition on such an important occasions for one of the leagues more storied franchises, well it can only be their biggest rival, Nottingham Panthers. A bumper crowd is expected through the doors full of anticipation of seeing the new players and their take on this most hostile of rivalries.
Both teams have bolstered their rosters with both skill and strength, all of which should add up to a fast paced, physical encounter.
Meanwhile, on a weekend where all 10 Elite League sides will play twice, Braehead will make the trip across the Humber Bridge to take on Hull, Cardiff will open up their final season at the temporary Cardiff Arena with a visit from Belfast, plans and construction is underway for the Devils to move into a new arena for the start of the 2014-2015 season.
Finally Coventry travel north of the boarder to face Dundee and Edinburgh open up their home campaign in the shadows of Murrayfield Rugby Stadium with the visit of the Fife Flyers.
With that the waiting will be over, the long season will begin and the race for the three most prized pieces of silverware in British Ice Hockey will be underway.