Steelheads and Beasts prep for prime battle

Like military generals deciphering their opponent and plotting their next move, hockey managers have been busy over the summer planning manoeuvres and strategies as part of their conquest.

With hockey gladiators soon to hit the ice to begin another season of battle, the Mississauga Steelheads and Brampton Beast have been hard at work preparing for the respective start of their 2017-2018 campaign.

Based at the Hershey Centre, the Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) are eager for their home opener on September 22 against the Ottawa 67’s.  In his second season as Steelheads coach, James Richmond is extremely motivated, following the 2016-2017 year when the team ended as conference champions before losing to the Erie Otters in the OHL finals.

The Brampton Beast, who perform their home games at the Powerade Centre, head into their fourth season as the only Canadian team in the demanding East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).  The league primarily has teams in eastern and central North America, but as far west as Idaho and Colorado – home to last year’s league champions. An affiliate of the Montreal Canadians, interest in the Beast is growing steadily and last year the team averaged over 3,000 fans per game, the highest in the team’s history.

The Beast are especially excited that captain Brandon Marino, now the franchise’s all-time point leader, is returning for another season.

“Brandon is simply the most consistent player that has ever played for the Beast,” said team president Cary Kaplan. “He is an elite ECHL player and as we retool for the upcoming season, our goal remains for Brandon to captain the Beast to a Kelly Cup Championship.”

Also to watch will be new team member Kevin Dufour, who recently graduated from Bowling Green University where he achieved 30 points in a mere 41 games in his final year. “He possesses NHL speed and has a knack for scoring,” noted Beast head coach Colin Chaulk.

The caliber of hockey agility from both teams is always high. The Steelheads have seen numerous players head to the NHL.  This includes Alexander Nylander who is now with the Buffalo Sabres. When his team faces the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, youth friends of the Nylander household will have to decide whether to cheer for him or his brother William, who is a top performer for Toronto.

The Beast enthusiastically await their season home opener, taking place on Sunday, October 15 in the afternoon.

They’ll be challenged by the Manchester Monarchs from New Hampshire and an affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Player development by the opposing Monarchs shined proudly in 2014 when the Kings won the Stanley Cup and thirteen former Monarchs were part of that championship squad, indicating what fans can expect from OHL games.

Both the Steelheads and Beast are excited to offer an affordable venue for families to see high quality hockey. In addition to the always appreciated free parking, tickets for the Beast start at $15.  A great value to witness future warriors of the NHL battle it out.

 

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