Paisley Pirates fans, starved of seeing their favourite team in action for over four months, have been handed a pre-season boost with the news that the team will be in action a week before their official league campaign gets under way.
Pirates will travel to Dumfries next Sunday, following an invitation from the Solway Sharks, to take on their Northern Ice Hockey League side in a pre-season challenge, a match which coach Ian Turley is already looking forward to.
“We’ve managed to get in some valuable training time at Kilmarnock over the last month, and this match will mean we are far better prepared for the start of the SNL season than usual, as in past years Braehead has been unavailable to us till October. It’s a tough trip to go to play the NIHL Sharks, they play in a higher standard of league than we do, and will be icing a couple of imports, as their league permits a limited number of foreign players to be included in squads. However, we regard it as being a bit of a feather in our cap to be asked, as Solway made it clear they were looking for someone to give them a competitive match, so they asked us.”
He continued, “Solway normally do well in their league so it will give us an idea of where we are in terms of fitness and standard, albeit it’s the first match of the season and you don’t always get an accurate guide as to where you are at the beginning of another year. However, we’ll be doing as we always do, we’ll prepare for the game and go down there to give it our best shot. I’m looking forward to getting the chance of going in against a higher standard of opposition than we sometimes will face in the SNL, with no disrespect to anyone. I’ve always felt we could handle ourselves in a higher league and this will give us a chance to put that theory to the test.”