Cardiff Devils managing director Todd Kelman (left) will be targeting a third straight league title this season.

New Devils Import D-Man Still To Be Named

Cardiff Devils introduced their four new signings at Ice Arena Wales, but left the prospect of a sixth defenceman hanging.

Head coach Andrew Lord neatly sidestepped a question on recruitment, but Devils will have a fifth new player in before the start their Champions League matches.

It will be a D-man from North America who has not played in Britain before, but he has not arrived yet.

More than 500 Devils fans attended the open training session and meet the players evening in Cardiff Bay when new arrivals Ben Blood, Mike Hedden, Stephen Dixon and Charles Linglet were given a rousing welcome.

Forward Joey Martin pictured during the Devils’ awards evening.

All the Devils mixed with fans, signing autographs and posing for pictures, in a packed main bar area and Lord said: “We have brought in four unbelievable guys new to the League with tons of ability and tons of character.

“I had a lot of help with recruitment, some great input from Franny (Neil Francis), owner Kelly Hughes and more.”

Lord confirmed he has ‘virtually’ retired from playing and will focus on running the bench this season, saying: “I highly doubt I will play again.

“Crazier things have happened I suppose, but I would have to work on my conditioning after a sloppier than usual off-season.”

Devils have won the Elite League title for two successive seasons and ended last season lifting the play-offs championship.

Celebration time for Cardiff Devils. Pic: Helen Brabon.

Lord has upgraded his team, but it’s true standards around all the clubs are rising fast.

“It’s hot and heavy around the league,” said Lord. “Take your pick who will be challenging for honours.

“The big teams are adding, while Guildford Flames are in the mix. Fife Flyers, too, are bringing things to the table and every club is stepping things up.

“Look at Great Britain’s achievements in the World Championships, achieving promotion yo the top flight, and standards around Elite League. Ice hockey in the UK is ion the best place it’s ever been.”

Devils have added extra foot speed to their team and are returning to action with an even better team despite the fact that Andrew Hotham, Tyson Strachan and Patrick Asselin have all retired.

Lord has now signed 14 import players, not including himself, but has only has five defencemen in so far with that final signing to be announced.

Lord’s men then travel to Nottingham Panthers on Saturday for the first leg of their Aladdin Cup clash with the return in Cardiff Bay on Sunday.

Goalie Ben Bowns. Pic: Richard Murray.

Devils are holders of the Aladdin Cup, a pre-season competition hosted annually by the Panthers.

These will be the first two games with new Panthers Head Coach Rich Chernomaz behind the bench and a handful of new players added to their line-up.

All four Devils’ new signings revealed so far – Blood, Linglet, Dixon and Hedden – will play against Panthers.

Tickets for Sunday’s home game (6pm face-off) are available via https://cardiffdevils.cloudvenue.co.uk/home or by calling 0800 0842 666.

Cardiff Devils signings for 2018-19 (One more import defenceman to add):

Netminders: Ben Bowns, Thomas Murdy.

Defencemen: Ben Blood (import), Bryce Reddick (import), Mark Louis (import), Gleason Fournier (import), Mark Richardson.

Forwards: Charles Linglet (import) Josh Batch, Stephen Dixon (import), Toms Rutkis, Mike Hedden (import), Layne Ulmer (import), Matthew Myers, Justin Faryna (import), Jake Morissette (import), Sean Bentivoglio (import), Craig Moore, Matt Pope (import), Joey Martin (import), Joey Haddad (import).

Players no longer playing for Devils: Andrew Lord (retired from playing to become full-time head coach), Andrew Hotham (retired), Paul Crowder (to Fife Flyers), Drew Paris (Karlskrona HK, Sweden), Tyson Strachan (retired), Patrick Asselin (retired).

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