Cardiff hockey fans will be reminded of things beyond sport when the Devils meet Coventry Blaze in the Bay tomorrow evening.
A minute’s silence is scheduled before the match for Todd Dutiaume, player-coach of the Fife Flyers, whose wife Kelly, 38, died suddenly at the end of last month while pregnant with twins.
The Devils will also stage a bucket collection for funds to support the family with help from Kate Lyle, wife of goalie Steve Lyle, and others among the players’ wives and girlfriends.
But come face-off at 7pm in the Cardiff Arena these two members of the tight-knit UK hockey community will be fighting for every inch on the ice.
The Devils return to the Big Blue Tent after back-to-back 4-3 road wins up in Scotland against Glasgow’s Braehead Clan and the Dundee Stars.
The latter victory was a fine one for Cardiff with a hat-rick, and late shorthanded winner, from captain and top scorer Stuart MacRae.
The Canadian is now joint eighth in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) scoring list, having fired 24 goals with 42 assists for 66 points. With five of those points coming in the two away wins, the skipper’s efforts have helped the Devils consolidate their fourth place in the league standings.
Assured of a play-off spot, they have seven league matches, four at home and three away, before a likely quarter final against fifth-placed Braehead Clan.
Cardiff look in good shape to make the league semi-finals in Nottingham on April 7 with the imminent return of Canadian defenceman Mark Smith likely to be a big boost.
Chris ‘The Tank’ Frank seems to have assumed the role of enforcer left vacant by the recent retirement of Devils legend Brad Voth, so expect some handbags down at the Bay.
American forward Jeff Pierce is also a good bet to score with 31 goals and 33 assists this season for 64 points, putting him joint 12th in the EIHL rankings.
The Blaze currently lie in sixth and must play Cardiff three more times this season with a chance to catch fifth placed Braehead up for grabs.