Manchester Storm head coach Ryan Finnerty is excited by the season ahead – but has more pressing matters to concern himself with.
At the time of writing, Finnerty’s wife, Emma was almost a week overdue with the arrival of their first child as he prepared his team for their weekend games.
“I always look around my birthday, November 23rd as when we’ll start to see the cream rise to the top in this league,” Finnerty said.
“With the new two new teams, it’s added a lot more excitement, plus the three Conferences as well it changes the approach a little bit.
“Thereare no easy games and we’ve seen the new teams turn over the big boys. To me, I think they add a certain element and that they’re not here to make up the numbers.
“They’ve shown they can get results and they’re the real deal. We no longer have the 10 teams we’ve seen for a good few years. There are two new teams and they mix into the schedule well.
“For the fans, they get to see new teams and coaches plus visit new arenas and all that aside, I think we’re all still going to be chasing Cardiff Devils and it’s going to be a rollercoaster.
“As for me, my wife and I are a week past our due date so we have to play a waiting game of our own as we look forward to the baby coming so it’s an exciting time for us personally too.”
Finnerty’s side host Guildford Flames on Saturday before heading to Cardiff on Sunday, although he may not go because of his current situation.
But the Storm coach is taking nothing from granted, especially from the Flames who lost 7-1 to Sheffield Steelers in their last outing.
He added: “I think that was a blip on the radar for Guildford and that’s not a game we’re studying. We saw on Saturday games like that can happen to anyone.
“They have a lot of speed, some good talent and a lot of enthusiasm and I can’t see it being anything other than a tough match.
“They may be different to what we’ve seen so far, but we know how good guys like Brian Stewart can be and how he can help win and steal games. It’s going to be a fun game to watch.
“Going to Cardiff is a different feel nowadays and they’re a team that are at the top and you want to knock them off. You certainly have to be at your best if you want to beat them.
“It’s another challenge for this young group in a great atmosphere and it will good to see where this group are at and I’m optimistic we can go there and put in a great performance.”