Countdown to the new Ice Hockey season – Cardiff Devils first match is 44 days away
Captain Jake Morissette and Sean Bentivoglio are the latest Cardiff Devils forwards returning for the 2018-19 ice hockey season.
Head coach Andrew Lord has now confirmed 11 players in his quest to recruit a team to win a third successive Elite League title.
Both are key players from last season’s championship team returning to defend the League and play-off titles. Devils start against Nottingham Panthers in challenge fixtures during August.
“We know what we are getting with Mo and Benti,” says Lord. “They are both so consistent and bring an awful lot to this team on and off the ice.
“Mo is a great captain and leads by example. He is a total pro and brings 100% work ethic to every training session and every game.
“He has put up great numbers for us over the last few years and we have played him with everyone. It seems when a line is struggling we move Mo onto it to get them going and they always do.
“Benti is one of the fastest skaters in the league, as good defensively as he is offensively. He has a great shot, has a knack for scoring big goals for us and plays the game at such a high tempo.
“His speed and skill set make him dangerous every time he is on the ice.
“Both of these guys played such key roles for us last season when we were trying to defend our league title. They somehow stayed hungry and were driven to win another title.
“We need that again this season and we are confident these two are going to bring that attitude and work rate every day.”
Morissette is officially the most successful team captain in Devils history, despite only wearing the C for the past two seasons. Since he was appointed captain, Morissette’s team have won two Conference titles, two League titles, a Challenge Cup and the Play-off Championship.
He scored 22 goals and added 39 assists for 61 points in 71 games last season, netting 11 times on the powerplay. Mo led the team in short-handed goals and scored four game winners throughout the 2017-18 season.
He is going into his sixth season as a Devil, while Bentivoglio returns for his third season with the Devils after playing the previous five seasons in Italy for Asiago.
Bentivoglio scored 19 goals with 49 assists for 68 points in 2017-18, putting him third among Devils forwards.
He was second on the team in assists, scored seven powerplay goals and four game-winning goals.
Devils signings for 2018-19 so far:
Netminders: Ben Bowns, Thomas Murdy.
Skaters: Jake Morissette (import), Sean Bentivoglio (import), Josh Batch, Craig Moore, Gleason Fournier (import), Matt Pope (import), Joey Martin (import), Joey Haddad (import), Mark Richardson.
Not returning: Andrew Hotham (retired).
Elite League fixtures will be confirmed next month, while Devils have been drawn in a group alongside Växjö Lakers (Sweden), SC Bern (Swiss), Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) in the Champions League.
Early season fixtures
Devils have arranged a series of pre-season challenge fixtures.
Head coach Andrew Lord and his Devils have already confirmed fixtures against Nottingham Panthers on Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12.
The first of those will be in Nottingham with the return at Ice Arena Wales the following evening.
Devils host Slovakian team HK Poprad in games at Ice Arena Wales during August.
The challenge fixtures will be on Saturday, August 18 (7pm) and Sunday, August 19 (6pm).
HK Poprad play in the top league in Slovakia, the same league that HC Banska Bystrica play in, who the Devils hosted two years ago in pre-season action.
Cardiff host the Blaze at Ice Arena Wales on Saturday, August 25 (7pm) with the return at the Skydome, Coventry and on Sunday, August 26 (5.15pm).