Newcastle Northstars General Manager Garry Dore says the team is “ecstatic” to play some competitive ice hockey this Sunday.
The puck is set to drop at 4pm at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium during what will be the opener of a new seven-game competition.
The Hawkesburry Classic will see the Northstars play Sydney Ice Dogs across four matches over the next month.
The second and third games will be played at Macquarie Ice Rink while the fourth will bring the team home on Saturday 22 August.
It comes after the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) officially cancelled the 2020 season this week. A move Dore has described as “pretty disappointing.”
“The guys were looking forward to a big season,” he said.
“We started practicing weekly when the rink opened up and the rules allowed [last month] and it encouraged them a little bit that there might be light at the end of the tunnel.
“So, there was a bit of excitement when they could see we were putting something together.
“We’re just really excited by the fact that we’re going to get some time on the ice.
“I really hope we have a big impact, because both [teams] have been there right from the beginning.”
Moving forward, Dore is unsure of what the 2021 season will look like.
Without a vaccine or things returning to normal he believes it will be challenging to have a strong return.
“We hope that NSW and Australia weathers the storm and that we can still play,” he said.
The Hawkesbury Classic will be live-streamed to ensure that fans, local communities and the Australian Ice Hockey community can enjoy homegrown hockey safely.
For access to this livestream a game pass will be $10.
Limited tickets are also available for each game, with ticket releases being made available to each team’s sponsors, season ticket holders and then the wider fan base.
The series will proceed as follows:
- Game 1 – 4:00 pm Sunday 2 August, Hunter Ice Skating Stadium
- Game 2 – 5:00 pm Saturday 8 August, Macquarie Ice Rink
- Game 3 – 5:00 pm Saturday 15 August, Macquarie Ice Rink
- Game 4 – 4:00 pm Saturday 22 August, Hunter Ice Skating Stadium
Following games will be set at a later date.