The 2018 NZ Ice Hockey League season is just around the corner, and most of the NZIHL squads are now in full pre-season training mode, looking to be sharp and ready for the first rounds on 26/27 May.
The Admirals will be away for the first round, travelling to Dunedin to take on the Thunder, a team they split the series with last season. The following weekend, 02 and 03 June, will be the home opener for the Admirals. In a repeat matchup of last years NZIHL Grand Final, the boys in blue will take on threepeat Birgel champions SkyCity Stampede in what promises to be one of the season highlights.
The Admirals squad for 2018 is taking shape, and looks to have had some depth added with a few new and returning faces. On the debit side of the ledger though, the pirate ship is losing one of its longest serving swashbucklers as Steven Huish announced his retirement from competitive hockey during the off-season.
Huish was an original Admiral, having suited up in the very first NZIHL season back in 2005, and then playing every season since with the exception of a two year sojourn to Australian hockey.
Also moving on from the Admirals last season will be Scott Randell, who is pursuing study and career opportunities, and Jake Ratcliffe who is taking a break between Northern hemisphere hockey seasons.
A few new faces in the West Auckland mix include Forward Shaun Harrison, Ice Black and formerly of the Thunder, as well as George Coslett, another Ice Black and former NZIHL player with the Devils and Thunder.
Justin Daigle (Canada) will once again return as Captain, whilst the other three import places go to Mike Verschuren (Netherlands), and Kevin Phillips and Craig Peacock, both from the U.K. All three have played at World Championship level for their countries, and will bring high end skill and excitement to Paradice Avondale for this season.