Tonight we welcome the Sheffield Senators in the first game of the 2016/17 campaign.
Last season the Senators faced a real uphill task against very much stronger opposition in the Div 1 Moralee Conference. They might have had what might be termed a torrid time given their results over a long season, and on some long journeys into some tough environments.
The Senators proved to be always a solid side in the Laidler Conference and a great part of the Sheffield development system and as with the Nottingham Lions are seen as part of a production line for future players. Both teams have a nucleus of seasoned players to help with the development process and they are the backbone of both of the teams.
It will be good to see the likes of Mark Hartley, Jonny Bell, Nathan Britton, Thomas Humphries, Paul Lofthouse and many others taking to the ice once again at the National Ice Centre against a much changed Nottingham Lions team.
It has been noted that although the Senators were eventually relegated from Div 1 their long term Div 1 team the Sheffield Spartans had to fight out a relegation battle against Widnes Wild and eventually managed to avoid the drop.
The Div 1 team Spartans have since been disbanded with a number of their playing staff moving on to Widnes so Sheffield at have no team in Div 1 but do still have their EPL team the Sheffield Steeldogs, so plenty for the up and coming players to aim for.
The Nottingham Lions have spent the off season looking to rebuild for the 2016/17 season so we will be seeing a number of new faces around and sadly missing a number of great servants of the team who have decided to move on or just call it a day hockey wise. Connor Glossop, of course, made the move to the EPL with the Peterborough Phantoms and we wish him well for his first season at that level. Ex Lion Craig Wallis also moved up to EPL with the Phantoms.
As with each new season we welcome the new guys and bid a very fond farewell to some great characters and good hockey players.
So the Nottingham Lions take to the ice once again with a hope to perform well, and look to the play offs at the season end as their immediate priority and anything else as a bonus.
The Nottingham Lions are grateful for the continued support of their sponsors and look to strengthening the existing bonds between the companies and the team.
Nottingham ice hockey supporters not travelling for the Blaze v Panthers game on Sunday will be very welcome at the Nottingham Lions game face is at 7.30pm.