Cardiff Devils forward Craig Moore says he’s about to play in two of the biggest games of his career so far, writes Craig Anderson.
The energetic, all-action Scot made the move to the Elite League champions this summer after two years at Dundee Stars and is preparing for his first taste of action in the Champions Hockey League.
And he admits if you’d put this scenario to him a few months ago, he would never have believed it.
“I’m excited about this week and it’s the same for the guys, although there may be some nerves in there too,” says Moore, a 22-year-old who has made a big impact with Devils fans.
“The CHL is a huge tournament to be involved in and you’re playing against some great teams.
“These two games coming up will be the biggest of my career. The play-off semi-final with Dundee a few months ago was the biggest before, but this will be something else.
“If you’d said to me at the play-offs that I would play for Cardiff in the CHL, I would think it was far-fetched.
“It’ll be good to see for myself what teams in Europe are like and perhaps help you focus and dream to play in one of these countries.
“Morale is really high after coming off that big win over Krefeld Pinguine. Winning 6-2 was a big confidence boost and shows how good a team we are.
“The mood and belief around the team is good and we’ve gelled quickly. I think we’ve got a good chance of making a surprise.”
Moore, who will start this season as a forward, but can operate from the blue line, is fully aware that Devils, despite their excellent season last year, are underdogs as they head to Davos in Switzerland before moving on to Liberec in the Czech Republic.
But he reckons there is still pressure to produce their best on the CHL stage and wants to see Devils perform at this stage better than previous Elite League participants in the competition.
“Despite being the underdog, there is still expectation to go out and do something,” said Moore.”The underdog mentality has almost been pushed to the side, with more going out to prove what we can do.
“I know the arena in Davos is a special place and the Swiss league is top quality so we know it’s going to be a fast paced game. We’ll go in looking to do what we know we can do.
“The whole mentality is to win at home and I know from my experience of playing at Ice Arena Wales so far that it can give us an advantage.
“There is pressure for us to be at our best, and as an organisation, we want to go one better than the other teams that have played in the CHL before.”
The Devils players fly to Switzerland on Wednesday morning and then switch to the Czech Republic after their first game.
Following their CHL fixtures in Switzerland and the Czech Republic, Devils face home fixtures against the same opposition.
Bill Tygri Liberec visit Cardiff on Thursday, August 31 (7pm UK time), while HC Davos are in Wales on Sunday, September 3 (6pm UK time).
Ticket information for all matches is available online via the Cardiff Devils official website or by phoning 0800 0842 666. Tickets can also be purchased in person from the main reception at Ice Arena Wales.