Sheffield Steelers have a European incentive to win the Play Offs.
The club, who have been competitors in the Champions Hockey League after winning the League title on the previous two campaigns, have seen their place taken by new champions Cardiff Devils. But a Play Off final win in Nottingham on April 9 would allow them entry into the Continental Cup.
That is a winnable trophy, as Nottingham Panthers proved in January.
Steelers love the prestige and buzz of European hockey - they faced excellent teams in HV71, Sweden, and Red Bull Salzburg, of Austria, back in August.
Meanwhile, Sheffield management are working behind the scenes on landing European opposition in a pre-season match-up.
The club is not saying who they are in talks with, but with the Swedish connections they enjoy, one of the two sides is likely to be from there.
Steelers have their last away game of the regular season tomorrow at Nottingham.
Fourth line centreman Yared Hagos, we understand, has trained this week, but it is by no means clear whether he will ice against Panthers.
Steelers, who have won three of their last four games, are likely to be without Mike Ratchuk in Friday’s sell out at the NIC.
Panthers lost there last night - and will be busting a gut not to do so again.
Wednesday 22nd March
Nottingham Panthers 1 Manchester Storm 3
Friday 24th March
Nottingham Panthers v Sheffield Steelers – 7.30pm
Saturday 25th March
Braehead Clan v Edinburgh Capitals – 7.00pm
Cardiff Devils v Belfast Giants – 7.00pm
Fife Flyers v Dundee Stars – 7.15pm
Sunday 26th March
Cardiff Devils v Belfast Giants – 6.00pm
Dundee Stars v Fife Flyers – 6.30pm
Edinburgh Capitals v Braehead Clan – 6.00pm
Manchester Storm v Nottingham Panthers – 5.30pm
Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze – 5.00pm