Date:  Source: Elite Ice Hockey League

Cardiff Devils coach Andrew Lord says his team may have lost the element of surprise after learning their opponents in the Champions Hockey League draw.

The EIHL champions will face Växjö Lakers of Sweden, Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg and Swiss side SC Bern in this year’s competition, which begins at the end of August.

But Lord, who helped make the draw in Copenhagen, remained excited at the mouth-watering ties and reckons his team could have a chance if they can hit the ground running.

“The element of surprise may have gone for us, but after hanging out with Sam Hallam, the Växjö coach, all day in preparation for this draw, it’s good to be up against them again,” he said.

“I’ve heard nothing but unbelievable things about Bern’s rink and I played with their player, Mark Arcobello a few years ago, so there’s some connections there.

“Salzburg is a beautiful spot and that will make the fans happy, but what an event.  It’s a real privilege for our team to be part of this and it’s helping to grow the game in the UK.

“Last year, I learned a lot from this competition and one thing I learned in particular is that these teams will start their training camps on Monday.

“It’s different for us and it’s not an excuse as our guys will train back home.  It’s just a North American way of doing things and we’ll be ready.

“We have two or three weeks of training camp, we have a chance, but systematically it’s a little different and understanding the speed.

“If you look back on our tournament last year, we had the belief and it grew as the tournament went on. We got our feet under us and I hope to get that going from game one.

“If we can do that throughout the six games then I believe we have a chance."

PHOTO: Cardiff Devils