Paisley Pirates get their competitive season under way this Sunday (11 September) when they host local rivals Kilmarnock Storm at Braehead Arena in their opening Scottish National League fixture, having narrowly missed out on the league title last year to Kirkcaldy Kestrels.
“We were a shade unlucky to lose out to the boys from Fife, with it going down to the last set of matches before they deservedly took the title,” said coach Ian Turley. “We had the massive consolation of lifting the Scottish Cup a few weeks later and, indeed, this Sunday will be the first opportunity for many of our fans to see the team in action since that evening back in April.”
“We’ve had the comparative luxury, for us at least, in getting in some proper pre-season practices at Kilmarnock, ironically enough, and the challenge match at NIHL Solway Sharks on Sunday allowed us to get in some competitive time on the ice under our belts before the serious stuff starts this weekend. We managed to introduce no fewer than SIX new players to the line up, and we gave both goalies solid ice time, and while the integration process will take a few games, that’s the show on the road-as far as challenge games go, I reckon that it was a success.”
He went on, “Our visitors had a tough time of it last year, but they’ve added a couple of former Pirates to their ranks now, so that will add more of an edge to the match. They’ll be out to prove a point against their former team mates, and we certainly don’t want to lose our opening match at home, particularly when it’s a local derby against a team which is only half an hour away from us.”
“In addition to having most of the usual faces from last season, we’ve added a number of hungry young players who’ve shown me that they’re ready and willing to display the kind of ability, enthusiasm and attitude I’m looking for every single game, and I’m still hopeful we might have another player in the ranks for opening night. I think we’ll continue to entertain the fans in the style they’ve become accustomed to seeing in recent seasons, so I’m hoping we’ll get a good turn out from supporters on Sunday (face off 6.00pm).