Canterbury Red Devils have recalled veteran Brett Speirs ahead of their ice hockey league clash with Southern Stampede this weekend.
The Devils’ stalwart, a former Queenstown Stampede player, retired at the end of last season.
But with the champions trailing rampant Stampede by six points and losing to bottom-placed Dunedin
Thunder last weekend, there may or may not have been a panicked phone call to Speirs.
“I wouldn’t say there wasn’t a call like that,” Stampede captain Bert Haines and Speirs’ long-time friend
“After the first few games of the season they were probably like ‘shit we do want Speirsy back!’
“To be fair they’ve probably made the call in the off-season, you always want to put your best team on the ice.
“His retirement didn’t last long – it’s cool, I love seeing him back on the ice.”
Haines says he’s expecting another titanic battle this weekend, hard-fought but open games of fast-flowing hockey, as it was when Stampede did the double over Canterbury in Queenstown over WinterFest.
Stampede have amassed 22 points at the half-way stage with eight straight victories, two of which came in overtime.
Crucially, they are 13 points ahead of West Auckland Admirals in third, with 24 points to play for and spots for two teams in the finals.
But Haines says Stampede are taking it one game at a time.
“There’s still 24 points and I wouldn’t put it past anyone being able to grab those points.
“So you can’t count anything out yet.
“What we’ve done a really good job of this season is focusing weekend by weekend, and once we get into the weekend, it starts with game one, shift one.
“That’ll dictate what happens in the rest of the weekend.
“We approach training this week like it’s the first practice for the year.”
Stampede, who had a bye last weekend, face Canterbury in Christchurch on Saturday and Sunday.