The new-look Sheffield Steelers’ team might step on to the ice for their first game in just 20 days time...but fans will have to wait until October 1 for the all-important defence to start of their League title crown.
The EIHL League fixtures must remain on the back burner until Braehead Clan visit the Arena.
Before then, Paul Thompson’s upgraded side has a level-finding home exhibition series (13th and 14th versus Aalborg Pirates) a hugely-difficult Champions Hockey League adventure (away HV71 (18th Aug) and Salzburg (20th Aug) - home legs Saturday 27th August (Vs HV71) and Sunday 11th September (Vs Salzburg.)
Steelers’ first domestic competition is against Manchester Storm on Sunday 4th September - but that’s in the Challenge Cup, and it’s almost a month after that before the champions can start to try and make it a record-breaking three in a row league championships.
Of massive financial importance to the club is the traditional Christmas fixture against Nottingham Panthers, and Sheffield Arena will again host the Boxing Day match, with the return date in the Lace City on the 27th.
In fact, the two rivals face each other four times in December in total.
New Year’s Eve sees Steelers party against Manchester at home with a hangover return leg the following day.
Also of note, are an away Scottish double-header - 5th and 6th November in Edinburgh and Dundee.
And a Belfast double-header weekend away on the 7th and 8th January.
The league season will end on the 25th and 26th March with a road trip to Nottingham and a home fixture against Coventry Blaze.
Coach Paul Thompson said: “It’s a busy schedule and as demanding as ever. We can’t wait to get started and try and defend our championship, it’s a huge challenge but one we are all up for.
“The CHL will once again be a massive test, but we are the Sheffield Steelers and we want to test ourself against the best. In HV71 and Red Bull Salzburg we are certainly up against that.
“All competitions are important to us, we want them all, the cup, the play offs but we are a club that focuses on league success. To win three in a row would be an amazing achievement.
“One thing I noticed last year was the incredible rise in fan support as the season went on. The fans enjoyed our style, incredible work ethic and of course the chase for a championship. Crowds increased in size and volume. That effects the players. They love playing in front of the big crowds. I hope the fans come out again and support this great club throughout the 2016/17 season.”