From pregame to the final whistle, here's everything you need to know about Saturday's classic game
This is a message from Andrew Lord to everyone involved with the Devils:
The moments we have all shared have been incredible. The highs and lows, the wins and losses, the championships and the hard defeats. The friendships made and the moments shared are unforgettable.
There are so many people that I want to thank for my time with the Cardiff Devils, so here goes. I’m sure I’m missing some names so please don’t hold it against me. It has taken an army to build what we have in Cardiff and I want to touch on all the great people that are behind our success.
To Neil Francis for getting me this opportunity in the first place and for helping save hockey in Cardiff, people will never understand the work you did to make this happen. To our coaching staff over the years – Franny, Jamie and Piggs, goalie coach Dan, thank you for all the hours and commitment.
To equipment managers Dease and now Murds – thanks for working so hard to make life easier on and off the ice for all of us. To the off-ice staff - Katrina, Corky, Fie, Ags, Zac and Hilly - thanks for putting up with me and helping the guys so much, you guys have an impact far beyond what you realize.
Thanks to our medical team over the years - Erj, Jade, Kate, Pembo and the other match night doctors, strength coach Dan, Sheila, Holly, Hayley and the sports massage students from Cardiff Met - you have all kept us in top shape to give us every chance at success. Thanks to our entire stats team, Hubbs, Jay, Beth, Noddy, Rob, Matt, Finny, for all the dedication. Thanks to our game night off-ice officials – Clare, Kipper, Nigel, Janine, Gary, Ella, Alun, Aaron and Nic, everyone at Icetime TV led by Ado and media/production like Sully, Amy, Howard, Rachel, Dan, JD, Gareth, Aled, Olly and Terry.
Thanks to the fantastic team of photographers over the years - Richard, Helen, Dave, James and Rebecca - who capture all the moments that we have etched in our memories forever. Thanks to the incredible match night volunteers who help the players when they arrive in Cardiff, work our match nights and do more for this club than I have time to write – Bec, Colin, John, Sean, Paul, Hollee, Mike, Allyn, Eleanor, Kate, Sharon, Chris H, Chris M and Beth (anthem singer). To the hospitality team – Scott, Mandy, Faye, Holly and Fran and the Arena staff, first in the BBT then in Viola Arena for all that you did.
Thanks to our sponsors – your investment and support makes this all work. Without your financial commitment each year and love of this club, we can’t put together the teams we do. I hope we have given you plenty to cheer about and enough of a return on your investments to keep supporting the Devils for years to come.
To all of our fans – without you there is no team and no moments to share. You are the best. The way you support us everywhere – home, away, CHL, playoffs - is truly amazing. I hope you are all as proud of this club as I am and where we came from over the last 6 years. What a team. Getting to do our jobs in front of all of you has been an absolute honor.
To Todd for having my back and allowing me the opportunity to have full control and do things my way all the while supporting me like no other. I have been so lucky to have you help me every step of the journey and to get to work every day with such a great friend is something I’ll miss so much.
Thank you to our ownership Steve, Brian, Craig and Kelly for being the best owners and for giving me and the guys so much support over the years. I don’t think any players or fans outside of this organization can really grasp the relationship we all have with our ownership. Their commitment, passion and love for this club is unbelievable and we are so fortunate to have them. I’m going to miss our chats, laughs, texts but most of all the friendships we have built over the last 6 years. You guys and Todd are family. I better still get an invite to the Summit at Stampede every year.
To our players, past and present – What a group of people, teammates and players that I’ve been lucky enough to work with here in Cardiff. I am indebted to you and cannot thank you enough for the commitment and sacrifice to the jersey and organization. Every day I came to the rink I felt so fortunate to be a part of this with you. You put your bodies on the line and always cared so much about what it means to be a Cardiff Devil. So many great years and so many incredible memories. I am so proud of the culture here in Cardiff and that’s down to you guys, long may it continue.
Finally - to Christie. Thank you for supporting me, for listening, for being there whenever I needed you to and for letting the next season or the next game or the next player signing take center stage in our life far too often. Not a lot of people could deal with this lifestyle and I am so grateful.
This organization is incredible, and I am so proud of everything we’ve achieved. Winning has been the best, but I’m also so proud of what we’ve created here. Every weekend all getting together and going at it and being a part of something. It truly is so hard to put into words, but I know you all know what I’m trying to say and explain.
I could have very well stayed here the rest of my career as it is that special of a place, but I have an opportunity that I must take. I have a huge desire to find out what I can do in this game and therefore I could not pass up on the opportunity in front of me. It kills me to leave and I will miss being a part of what we have here, it has been the best time of my life.
I want to stress one final point. This team is in great shape. There are a bunch of very good players signed back (maybe the next coach will not try to keep signings so secretive), and there are more that want to sign back once there is more clarity on the length of season and more decisions can be made. There is also great interest from new players to come join Cardiff.
There are also a number of good coaches that have already expressed interest when they heard rumors that I might be leaving. They all know what a great organization Cardiff is and I’m sure there will be huge interest. This team is in incredible hands with all of you behind it. Our owners and Todd are unbelievable people and will keep driving this thing forward. I’m very excited for the future of this team and also believe a new coaching voice will be great for the players. 6 years is probably a bit too much of me (hahaha).
This message does not do justice for what I am feeling and how thankful I am. I love this club and I love this city. Thanks to each and every one of you that have made this time in my life unforgettable.