Cardiff Devils Ready For Biggest Day Of Elite League Year

Todd Kelman is ready for the most important day of the year for Elite League hockey.

Cardiff Devils managing director Kelman is attending the League fixtures meeting along with representatives from the other 11 teams.

For the first time in EIHL history, the fixtures meeting will have 12 teams sitting around the table.

Guildford Flames and Milton Keynes Lightning will join the 11 other teams to work through the programme for 2017-18 and confirm fixtures on Tuesday, followed by an EIHL Board Meeting on Wednesday.

“The fixtures meeting is the most important day of the year for Devils and every team,” said Kelman, “You need to get the dates right. A good schedule can make or break a season.

“This is my 10th year at this, but it doesn’t get any less stressful. The key is to think with your business head on, but to keep your hockey head switched on in the background.

“The most important factor is home dates, but you need to find the right balance between commercial potential and travel.

“With 12 teams competing it will be interesting to see how this goes and hopefully we all can work well together and come up with an overall list of fixtures that all teams are happy with.”

The EIHL fixtures are usually announced in Mid-July, although an official release date has not yet been confirmed.

Coventry Blaze have signed netminder Kevin Nastiuk from German team Dresdner Eislowen, while former Blaze goalie Brian Stewart is now with Guildford Flames.

The 31-year-old Nastiuk, selected in the fourth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by Carolina Hurricanes, won the DEL championships with Eisbaren Berlin in 2011 and 2012 and played for the 2003-04 Medicine Hat Tigers which won the WHL championship.

Former Cardiff Devils defenceman Carl Hudson has joined MK Lightning.

“Carl has a lot of skill, is a strong skater and is extremely fast,” said Lightning coach Peter Russell. “ He will be which a handful to play against at both ends of the rink.”

Canadian Hudson made more than 120 appearances for Cardiff under Andrew Lord, scoring 27 times and picking up 86 points.

He left to join French side Chamonix-Morzine last season and now returns to the UK, where he won the Challenge Cup with Devils in 2015.

Devils early fixtures:

August

Saturday 12 Aladdin Cup v Nottingham Panthers (away, 7pm)

Sunday 13 Exhibition match v Nottingham Panthers (home, 6pm)

Saturday 19 Aladdin Cup v Braehead Clan (home, 7pm)

Sunday 20 Exhibition match v Krefeld Penguins (home, 6pm)

Sunday 20 Aladdin Cup, Nottingham Panthers v Braehead Clan (Nottingham, 4pm)

Cardiff Devils will travel to Switzerland and the Czech Republic for their first two Champions Hockey League matches.

They take on HC Davos away on Thursday, August 24 and then travel to take on Czech team Bili Tygri Liberec two days later.

The first home match for Devils in CHL Group E is against Liberec on Thursday, August 31.

Davos travel to South Wales on Sunday, September 3, while Swedish team Vaxjo Lakers are at Ice Arena Wales on Tuesday, October 3.

Devils complete their group matches when they travel for the return in Sweden eight days later.

The top two teams in the group progress to the next round of the CHL.

Cardiff Devils Champions Hockey League group fixtures

August

Thursday 24: HC Davos v Cardiff Devils (7.45pm CEST)

Saturday 26: Bili Tygri Liberec v Cardiff Devils (3.30pm CEST)

Thursday 31: Cardiff Devils v Bili Tygri Liberec (7pm UK time, 8pm CEST)

September

Sunday 3: Cardiff Devils v HC Davos (6pm UK time, 7pm CEST)

October

Tuesday 3: Cardiff Devils v Vaxjo Lakers (7pm UK time, 8pm CEST)

Wednesday 11: Vaxjo Lakers v Cardiff Devils (7pm CEST)

Ticket information is available on the club’s official website at cardiffdevils.com

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