Andrew Lord has been granted his wish to go Swedish with Cardiff Devils during the Champions Hockey League – and the draw brings back big memories.
Swedish club Vaxjo Lakers, beaten 5-1 at Ice Arena Wales in the group stages last season, go head-to-head with the Devils again.
Lord had said before the draw: “I wouldn’t mind playing a Swedish team again as they’re considered one of the best leagues in Europe.”
Canadian Lord attended the draw in Copenhagen, Denmark and his Devils team group G along with Lakers (Sweden), Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) and SC Bern (Switzerland).
Devils play each of the other three teams home and away in the group stages with the top two moving forward.
Lord’s men produced a stunning performance to crush Vaxjo in Cardiff Bay thanks to goals from Jake Morissette, Sean Bentivoglio, Craig Moore, Joey Haddad and Mark Richardson.
Devils began last season’s CHL campaign with a 10-1 loss at HC Davos, before heavy defeats home and away against Bili Tygri Liberec.
They hit back to won 4-3 at home against Davos ands 5-1 against Lakers.
Cardiff were edged out 3-2 in the return against Vaxjo away with Josh Batch and Matthew Pope scoring.
Lakers powered all the way to the CHL final before losing to Finnish club JYP Jyväskylä 2-0 and finishing runners-up.
Also drawn to face Lord’s players are Austrians Red Bull Salzburg, who reached the last 16 last season and were beaten by Växjö in that round.
Salzburg finished second in the EBEL league last season, where they lost to Italian side HC Bolzano in the final.
Completing the group line-up is Swiss side SC Bern, a club familiar to Nottingham, who met them in the group stage last season and, along with Panthers, qualified for the knockout stage.
Coach Corey Neilson’s team were beaten 5-2 away by Bern, but secured a 4-2 victory on home ice, a result that helped pave the way for their last 16 berth.
Interestingly, Bern were another team to be eliminated by Växjö, going down to them 6-5 on aggregate over two legs.
Fixture dates are (exact fixtures will be announced soon):
Game Day 1: 30/31 August
Game Day 2: 01/02 September
Game Day 3: 06/07 September
Game Day 4: 08/09 September
Game Day 5: 09/10 October
Game Day 6: 16/17 October