Andre Payette has been in a few ice wars.
But he says there haven’t been many bruisng encounters the like of which he and his Sheffield Steeldogs side witnessed in a superb 8-6 aggregate win over Tony Hand’s Manchester Phoenix, a victory which brought with it the Rose Bowl Trophy.
Payette, a former Newcastle and Coventry enforcer, said: “At one point, I thought to myself: ‘This is not hockey’ - it was that much of a battle.
“We took on one of the highest paid and aggressive teams in the League and beat them deservedly.
“When we shook hands at the end, three were plenty of black eyes on view.
“It was a great way to herald the start of a new campaign.”
Payette said around 1,000 fans had been in iceSheffield on Saturday to see the first leg, which Dogs won 5-2.
The following night, Phoenix won the game 4-3, but it wasn’t enough to stop Payette’s troops lift the Bowl.
“Overall, it was a great team effort, but there were great individual performances from people like Greg Chambers who had to play in defence with Ben Morgan out.”