COVENTRY Blaze skipper Jordan Pietrus believes the Skydome Arena will be one of the most intimidating venues for opposition teams to play at ahead of the new season describing 3,000 seater stadium as a ‘cauldron’.
The 30-year-old takes over from former skipper Ashley Tait who has decided to take a step back from his previous role to focus on his new job as assistant coach to Danny Stewart.
Pietrus joined the Blaze in November last year, scoring 24 goals from 52 appearances.
The forward instantly became a fans favourite and told The Observer he was delighted to be back with the Blaze after enjoying a successful season both off and on ice last year.
Despite only having two practice sessions as a team, Pietrus admits he can’t wait to ice in front of the Blaze fans – stating they’re some of the loudest in the league and other teams will be intimidated come game day.
He added: “There were games towards the end of last season where our team would line up before the national anthem and I had goosebumps because the fans were so noisy.
“That doesn’t happen to me often, the Skydome was so loud – our fans are second to none and I can’t wait for them to get behind us again this season.
“The Skydome is a smaller arena compared to others in the league, but that works to our advantage as the noise echoes around the rink and creates an atmosphere charged with energy.
“There’s no where for opposition teams to hide and coming to Coventry will be intimidating for other teams this year.
“It’s a fun place to be a home team.”
Pietrus’ role as captain is a new challenge for the Canadian native who has previously spent time playing in America’s East Coast Hockey League and Poland with KH Sanok.
The right-hand shooter said it was an honour to receive a call from Danny Stewart who was keen for him to be captain after discussing the situation with James Pease and other members of the Blaze management.
Pietrus added: “Being captain is something I’m looking forward to.
“It will be a challenge but I’m up for it and I’m honoured to be the captain of the Coventry Blaze organisation.
“My responsibility is to make sure that I lead by example and I put my best foot forward.
“I have to work hard, have a good attitude, play well and with plenty of passion I think that’s the most important thing.
“It’s great to know that James, Danny and the rest of the management believe in me and my role is something I will take very seriously – I’m not going to let them down.”
Now based in Coventry, Pietrus will look to work closely with new the new imports and remaining players as the Blaze aim to go one better than last season and win the Playoff Championship.
The skipper said there’s no reason why the Blaze can’t challenge for a top spot this year, and he plans to take things step by step on a daily basis.
He said: “Our goal is to get better every day, right now we’re only two days into the season.
“If we can achieve this and improve on a daily basis we’ll put ourself in a position where we can challenge the top teams.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself but if we have a mind-set where we look to improve and take achievements step by step the success will follow.”