Ice hockey team Bilingham Stars set for big night

THE North-East’s premier ice hockey team kick off their pre-season on Saturday evening with a mouth-watering friendly (7.30pm face off).

Billingham Stars tackle the English Premier League Sheffield Steeldogs at the Billingham Forum, a week before the Stars start their defence of the English National League North against Sheffield Spartans, at the Forum next Saturday.

The Stars, formed in 2011 when Billingham Bombers merged with the Northern Stars, had a glory-filled debut year when they were crowned league champions.

The Steeldogs play in the second tier of the English game, a league above the the Stars, and will provide a “massive test” for coach Simon Leach’s men.

Club spokeswoman Carol Ramsden told SportMail: “It is a massive test for the lads because they get to pit their wits against a team of higher quality.”

Despite the talent possessed by the Steel City outfit, Billingham are no mugs. Not only does their extraordinary season last year provide testament to that, but they have also strengthened with two top-class pre-season recruits.

Forward Stephen Wallace has arrived from Manchester Phoenix, while Michael Bowman, also a forward, has signed from Bracknell Bees – both having played in the EPL last season and sure to provide a wealth of goals.

The Stars regularly attract crowds around the 800 mark and you too can enjoy the action tonight with ticket prices £7 for adults, £4 for concessions and a family ticket (two adults and two children) costing just £20.