American Winger Denny Ready For Exciting End to Cardiff Devils Season

Denny Kearney is preparing for potentially the most exciting spell of his ice hockey career.

The American forward flew in from Italy this week and has now had two training sessions with his new Cardiff Devils team-mates.

Kearney, 29, strolled out of the Cardiff locker room at Ice Arena Wales with coach Andrew Lord, who left us together to have a chat on the home bench.

“It’s going to be an exciting seven weeks or so,” says Kearney. “I’m joining a team in first place who are gunning for several championships. I’m excited to be part of that.”

Kearney will play three successive road games, two against Belfast Giants and one at Nottingham Panthers, before his home debut against Coventry Blaze on Saturday, February 25 (7pm). That is already virtually a sell-out with only 25 tickets left.

“The rink looks great and I’ve been told all about the passion of Devils fans,” says Kearney. “I watched the Devils mach against Panthers online and that came across well. It will be great to skate out and get the Devils home experience against Coventry, but right now we are not looking beyond the match against Belfast away on Friday.”

Lord must decide where to slot Kearney – pronounced ‘Karney’ – into the Devils line-up and it looks certain he will keep his top two lines together.

Joey Martin, Sean Bentivoglio and Lord are clicking as a combination, while the chemistry between Joey Haddad, Layne Ulmer and Patrick Asselin looks top quality.

Devils have captain Jake Morissette out injured, while they must decide which import will be rested for the Giants game on Friday.

David Brine, Asselin and Bentivoglio are all guaranteed starts because they have European stamps on their passport and all teams must include three ‘Euro’ players in every match.

It looks likely Kearney could link up with Chris Culligan and Matthew Myers which would leave either Guillaume Doucet and Patrick Bordeleau to sit out because Devils have an extra import on their roster.

Doucet or Bordeleau are likely to join Brine on the fourth line with Chris Jones and Luke Piggott rotating in.

For the moment, though, Kearney is simply getting to know his new team-mates and learning the team systems. He skated alone at the IAW on Tuesday after arriving in Cardiff, while he trained with the team on Wednesday and Thursday.

“My style of play is to be a team man,” says Kearney. “I like to think my vision, seeing the ice, is pretty good, while I work to make team-mates better and create scoring chances.

“I’m good around the net, putting home rebounds, and I love to compete. We all have to be as close to our best as possible and I will be working to play a two-way game for the team.”

Kearney played baseball and soccer growing up, while he enjoys watching American Football.

“Hockey is and always has been number one,” he says.

He has been playing for Italian club Bolzano in the Ebel League, comprising eight Austrian teams plus one each from Italy, Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

“The hockey is good quality with a lot of higher end imports,” says Kearney. “It is near the end of the season and the team had a shake-up because they had not done as well as hoped.

“I was released, looked for a new team. I had talked to coach Andrew Lord two years ago after Carl Hudson, who was with Devils at the time, recommended me.

“That wasn’t the right time, but when my agent told me Cardiff wanted a player I talked to all the staff. They were all amazing, while I’ve been told the club owners have done an unbelievable job.

“This is a good organisation. Devils look after the players and all we have to do is work hard and look after things in the right way during matches.

“The guys have given me a great welcome and we are all focused on playing Belfast Giants in Northern Ireland this weekend. They are going to be fun matches.”

Ticket information for Devils home matches is available from the club’s official website or via the hotline join 0800 0844 666.

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