Manchester Phoenix will take on Sheffield Steeldogs in the fifth annual War of the Roses preseason challenge in September.
Tony Hand’s men will be looking to bring the trophy back across the Pennines after suffering their first-ever series defeat to the Steeldogs last year after a 3-2 aggregate loss.
The first game will take place at Ice Sheffield on Saturday 7 September with face-off at 7:30pm. The return leg will be the following night at the Altrincham Ice Dome with the puck drop at 5.30pm.
The games will be a chance for both teams to ice their summer signings, which include Frantisek Bakrlik, Jack Watkins and Jacob Corson-Heron for the Phoenix and Greg Chambers and Tim Smith for the Steeldogs. Experienced hands like Phoenix’s Yorkshire-born pair Luke Boothroyd and James Archer, and Sheffield’s Greg Wood and Steve Dunscombe will no doubt let the new boys know how much any Lancashire-Yorkshire battle means to the fans.
Add to the mix the Steeldogs combative and occasionally combustible player-coach Andre Payette – and the fact that the two rivals will face off on the opening weekend of the EPL season on 15 September – and the War of the Roses challenge promises to be a far more intense affair than the typical preseason scrimmage.
Phoenix player-coach Hand said: “These games are always competitive and it will give both Andre and myself the opportunity to see our new lads in game situations.”
By Andy Jowett