Leeds Chiefs prepare for last ‘home run’ ahead of Elland Road opening night

SAM Zajac admits the bus ride home from Soilhull tomorrow night for Leeds Chiefs will seem slightly surreal given the significance of the journey.

By Phil Harrison
Saturday, 25th January 2020, 9:38 am
Updated Saturday, 25th January 2020, 9:41 am
Leeds Chiefs prepare for their NIHL National clash against Swindon Wildcats 
at Widnes Ice Rink, one of SEVEN home venues used by the team so far this season. 

Picture courtesy of gw-images.com
Leeds Chiefs prepare for their NIHL National clash against Swindon Wildcats at Widnes Ice Rink, one of SEVEN home venues used by the team so far this season. Picture courtesy of gw-images.com

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Perfect finish can help Leeds Chiefs realise debut season ambitions

The two-hour drive back up the M1 will mark the end of the Chiefs spending the entirety of their debut season effectively playing on the road.

Come Friday evening, at around 7.30pm, the Chiefs will for the first time ever, make another little piece of history when they face-off for the first time at their new Elland Road rink, with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Steeldogs – the team they faced in their first-ever game back on September 15 – providing the opposition.

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Bobby Streetly is still recovering from injury but is aiming to be fit for Leeds Chiefs' Elland Road home opener on Friday. Picture courtesy of gw-images.com

It has been a long road for Zajac and his players to get to this point – one incorporating many thousands of miles – and they will have earned their right to step out in front of a sell-out home crowd the hard way – even if the rink is only half-open.

“It will feel a bit weird given it is the last time we’ll be playing home games away, so to speak,” admitted Zajac.

“It’s a bit surreal, but on the other hand, very, very pleasing.

“It’s been a long, long slog for us as a team – there’s no doubt about that.

“We’ve got used to the fact that every weekend is going to be like two road games, so it will be a real treat when it does come to us being at home in Leeds next Friday.

“It certainly feels like it has been a long time coming but we’re all expectant now and I’m sure it will be worth the wait.”

For this weekend’s games against Milton Keynes and and Swindon, Scottish forward Connor Henderson is expected to be in the Chiefs’ line-up once again after his impressive debut in Peterborough last week.

It means only defenceman Bobby Streetly is missing, the 25-year-old aiming to return in time for Friday’s home opener.