By Matthew Burgess
The Cardiff Devils will hit the ice for the start of the 2023/24 season on Saturday 23 September, when they face Guildford Flames before heading to Coventry Blaze the following night in a Challenge Cup double-header.
Under new head coach Pete Russell, the Devils begin their Elite League campaign on home ice on Saturday 30 September for the visit of Glasgow Clan. The Devils make their first trip of the season to rivals Sheffield Steelers the next evening.
Last season the Devils were hampered by inconsistency in their attempts to challenge for the Elite League title before being comfortably beaten by Belfast Giants in the Play-Off final.
Dominant Belfast completed a clean-sweep of silverware last season and will make their first visit to Cardiff Bay to the newly-named Vindico Arena on Sunday 8 October.
The Giants will then host the Devils on back-to-back nights on the 3rd-4th February at the SSE Arena.
A double-header with the Blaze will take place over the festive period with Devils on home ice on Boxing Day (17:00) before making the return trip on 27 December. On New Year’s Eve, the Devils will entertain Guildford.
The Devils finally close out the season on Saturday 6 April at home to Coventry with their final game in Glasgow, the following night.
The Play-Off quarter-finals are scheduled for the weekend commencing Saturday 13 April, with the Play-Off final weekend to be held in Nottingham over 20th-21st April.
The full confirmed fixture list is available here.
SHOOTER SANFORD RESISTS EURO ADVANCES
Last season’s leading scorer Cole Sanford has committed to a third year with the Cardiff Devils, despite advances from European clubs.
The right winger scored 46 goals and 38 assists for 84 points in 72 games in all competitions last season, finishing second overall in league goal scoring with 38 goals in 52 league games and sixth overall in league points.
The Devils are rebuilding this summer with Pete Russell now at the helm, and the new coach has revealed the 27 year old turned down interest from European clubs to remain in Cardiff.
“We are extremely happy to retain Cole Sanford. As everyone would imagine, there was a lot of interest in mainland Europe, but in the end, he felt he had unfinished business here and his heart was still in Cardiff,” he said.
“Cole is a competitor and a pure goal scorer. He plays with high compete and is a total gamer. He also plays with an edge and competes at both ends of the ice. Cole will play in all situations this season.
In Cole we are adding a top end talent and one of the best players in the league, a total game changer.”
The announcement takes the number of confirmed Devils signings for the new season up to nine.
Along with Sanford, Joey Martin, Mark Richardson, Sam Duggan, Josh Waller and Riley Brandt will all be returning for 2023/24, whilst the club have also recruited defenceman River Rymsha and forwards Jamie Arniel and Ryan Barrow.
Featured image courtesy of James Assinder