Southern Stampede skipper Simon Glass reckons his Queenstown-based team is gearing up to reclaim the New Zealand Ice Hockey League title.
Stampede suffered a form slump after being champions in 2005-06 – Auckland’s Botany Swarm has dominated the competition since.
“We didn’t really put it together in the last two years and got let down with a few of our European imports,” Glass says. “A few of the guys who were from Italy left early and didn’t bring a good feel to the team.”
However, the Stampede squad has been strengthened with the addition of five new Canadian players, one American and the former West Auckland Admirals star Ice Black Daniel Smith.
“This year we focussed on getting some North American guys in who play a similar style to us and I think it’s going to be a winning formula,” Glass says.
“We are back firing on all cylinders and have as good a team as we’ve ever had.
“The way things have been looking in training, we’ve got a great chance of winning back the title this year.”
Stampede kick off this season’s campaign with two games against West Auckland Admirals at the Queenstown Gardens Fun Park rink tomorrow and Saturday, both matches at 7.15pm.
“Six out of our first eight games are at home so we’re looking for a really good start,” Glass adds.