Cardiff Devils are preparing for their Champions Hockey League fixtures with confidence says head coach Andrew Lord.
Elite League play-off winners Devils have been drawn in a tough group which includes European champions Frolunda Indians.
The powerful Swedish club, based in Gothenburg, have won the CHL title three times in the last four seasons and are the current holders.
Czech club Mountfield HK and Austrian team Graz99ers are the other teams in Cardiff’s group.
Lord, though, believes his Devils will be competitive in their third successive CHL campaign.
“This is the most confident I have been before Champions League fixtures,” he says.
“Yes, we have drawn tough teams, but I believe we can make some noise in our group.
“We have a core group of players coming back along with some high quality additions.
“I understand how great the other three clubs are and how tough it will be. We need to stay out of the penalty box – that has been our Achilles heel in Europe over the last two years.
“The first season in CHL we went in blind and improved dramatically as the event went along. We gained more experience in Europe a year ago and our team speed is going up for 2019-20.
“It’s fun to be part of Champions League hockey. Frolunda are literally the best team in European hockey and all three of our opponents are great teams, but we relish the challenge.”
Devils have announced 14 signings for the new season including three who are new to the club – Finnish forward Masi Marjamaki plus Canadians Mike McNamee and Blair Riley.
Five signings were revealed during the club’s summer summit hosted by owner Steve King in Calgary and attended by Lord and Devils managing director Todd Kelman.
They are Marjamaki, Riley, Stephen Dixon, Matthew Myers and Matt Pope
Devils currently have 10 imports on their roster with at least another four more to be added.
The versatile Evan Mosey was signed to return next season, but suffered a long-term injury during the World Championship and will be ruled out until the new year.
Devils have organised five warm-up fixtures, starting with back-to-back matches against Hungarian club Fehervar at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay on Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11.
Their first two CHL games are also at the Viola, against Mountfield (Friday, August 30) and Sunday, September 1.
Cardiff Devils’ confirmed signings (14):
Head coach: Andrew Lord
Netminder: Ben Bowns
Defence: Mark Louis (import), Gleason Fournier (import).
Forwards: Masi Marjamaki (import), Blair Riley (import), Stephen Dixon (import), Matthew Myers, Matt Pope (import), Mike McNamee (import), Sam Duggan, Joey Martin (import), Joey Haddad (import), Charles Linglet (import), Josh Batch.
Cardiff Devils pre-season and CHL schedule:
Saturday 10 and Sunday 11: Cardiff Devils v Fehervar (Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay)
Saturday 17: Nottingham Panthers v Devils (in Nottingham)
Sunday 18 Devils v Nottingham Panthers (Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay)
Sunday 25 Devils V MAC Budapest (Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay)
Friday 30 Devils v Mountfield HK (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 7.30pm)
Sunday 1 Devils v Graz 99ers (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 6pm)
Thursday 5 Mountfield HK v Devils (5pm)
Saturday 7 Graz 99ers v Devils (6.15pm)
Tuesday 8 Frolunda Indians v Devils (5pm)
Tuesday 15 Devils v Frolunda Indians (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 7.30pm)
Elite League and Challenge Cup fixtures still to be announced.
Single game tickets for pre-season and Champions Hockey League matches are now available along with the seven-game ticket pack.
CLICK HERE TO BOOK ONLINE or call us on 0800 0842 666
The 7-game pack, covering all four pre-season and three CHL home fixtures, offer big discounts and no service charges.