Cardiff Devils owners are holding their annual summit in Calgary, Canada – and they have revealed five signings for the Elite League play-offs champions.
Former Belfast Giants captain Blair Riley, who led that team to the League title last season, has committed to Devils along with Finnish forward Masi Marjamaki.
Stephen Dixon, Matthew Myers and Matt Pope are all returning to Cardiff for the new season.
The four-man consortium – Steve King, Kelly Hughes, Brian Parker and Craig Shostack – have been joined in their home town by Devils coach Andrew Lord and managing director Todd Kelman.
Leading Devils forward Joey Martin has also attended the summit and the group went live on the club’s facebook page to announce five signings.
Cardiff Devils’ five signings:
Steve King said: “The best combination of size, speed, toughness, skill and leadership in Elite League.
“Four years ago, before he moved to the UK, I was told by an NHL assistant coach that Blair was a player we should sign.”
A huge new signing for Cardiff. He was captain of Belfast Giants last season and broke Devils hearts when he led his team to the Elite League title.
Canadian Riley and his Giants finished level on points with Devils and were crowned champions on a countback. Both Giants and Devils were 22 points clear of the team in third.
The forward from Kamloops was in the middle of a two-year contract with Belfast, but there was a clause allowing either to terminate at the midway point.
Riley says: “To clarify – I fulfilled the obligations of my contract. Both parties had an option to terminate the second year of the deal once the season had ended.”
He has left Belfast after three years in Northern Ireland, having scored 88 goals and 230 points in 211 games across the Elite League, Challenge Cup and Continental Cup.
Giants won two Challenge Cups and a league title with Riley in their team. He was captain in the last two seasons.
Now it’s confirmed he has signed for Devils after firing 38 goals and 86 points in 2018-19.
Riley could be a contender to be Devils’ captain next season.
Left-winger who has played for NHL clubs Boston Bruins and New York Islanders.
A third new completely new signing for Devils, joining Blair Riley and Mike McNamee.
The 6ft 2ins Finnish forward was originally drafted by Boston 66th overall in 2003 and by Islanders two years later and made his NHL debut against Philadelphia Flyers.
That proved to be his lone appearance at the top level.
Marjamaki, a gritty, physical player, is a quality stickhandler who made more than 150 American League appearances for Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
He returned to Finland where he played for Ässät, Tappara, KHL club Jokerit and Swedish team Almtuna IS.
Marjamaki, aged 34, spent last season with Czech outfit Piráti Chomutov.
He is from the city of Pori on the West Coast of Finland.
Number 11. Heart and soul player.
Devils fans will be ecstatic with the return of the key forward, a two-way centreman who returns for a second season.
The influential Dixon is a fans’ favourite, scoring 48 points (22+26) in 2018-19.
He signed for Cardiff after playing last two seasons in Germany’s top league (DEL) for Grizzlys Wolfsburg.
Prior to his time in Germany, Dixon spent eight seasons in some of Europe’s top leagues including – KHL (2 years), Finland’s top league (4 years) and the Swedish Elite League (2 years).
He represented Canada on the International stage in four separate tournaments under-17, under-18 and twice at under-20.
Dixon, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, combined playing with studies for an MBS at Cardiff Met University last season.
Lord’s view on. Dixon: “A great skater, which he would need to be to stick in leagues like the KHL, Finnish Elite or Swedish Elite Leagues and a proven winner.”
2019-20 will be Matthew’s testimonial season. Number 8.
A shining light for Devils and Great Britain. Closing in on a landmark 1,000 Elite League appearances with and Nottingham.
Welsh forward Myers is returning for a 10th season with his home city club.
Hugely successful, having won seven Challenge Cups, seven play-off titles and four Elite League championships so far in his career.
Enjoyed an outstanding 2018-19 season for Devils and GB.
Canadian winger returning for a third season playing for Devils.
Came to Wales after a season in Asia with Tohoku Free Blades where he led the top league in scoring with 33 goals and 35 assists for 68 points in 46 games.
Pope played four years at Bemidji State University and then turned pro with the Bakersfield Condors in 2008-09, scoring 63 points (30 goals, 33 assists) in 54 games.
He then spent the next four seasons splitting time between the American League and the East Coast League before moving to Denmark to join the Aalborg Pirates and Bolzano a year later followed by Valpellice and Bolzano.
“Matt is a power forward who wins battles all over the ice,” says coach Lord. “He can score, make plays or grind it out in the corners. I see him as a real complete player.”
Pope has played in 120 matches for Devils, scoring 39 goals with 72 assists (111 points).
Devils’ confirmed signings (13):
Head coach: Andrew Lord
Netminder: Ben Bowns
Defence: Mark Louis (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 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.