NEWCASTLE North Stars coach Andrew Petrie will trust new US import Luke Moffatt to decide whether he is ready for Saturday’s Australian Ice Hockey League season opener against Adelaide Adrenaline.
Moffatt is due to arrive in Sydney on Saturday morning after a 15-hour flight from Los Angeles.
The 22-year-old former Colorado Avalanche NHL draft pick is predicted by some insiders to be the most talented import to ever play in the AIHL.
Petrie said Moffatt had posted on Facebook while in transit at LA Airport that he was ready to play and could not wait to meet his new teammates.
‘‘The guy has just finished a season of professional hockey and he knows his body,’’ Petrie said of the Norwegian premier league forward.
‘‘If he gets here and it’s game time and he tells me he can’t play, he won’t.
‘‘If he tells me he can, then he will. It’s 100 per cent up to him to make that call.’’
Moffatt’s arrival will complete the North Stars’ roster for their season of redemption.
After failing to reach the four-team play-offs for the first time since 2003, the North Stars have recruited strongly.
Two imports, Czech defenceman Jan Safar and Canadian forward Geordie Wudrick, arrived this week and trained with their new teammates for the first time on Thursday.
Both will play on Saturday against Adelaide at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium and on Sunday against the Canberra Brave.
‘‘They were impressive, both of them,’’ Petrie said.
‘‘As good as they look, they’re just champion blokes. If they haven’t already fitted in, it’s just a matter of days.’’
Unlike in past seasons, Australian representative forward Beau Taylor will be available from game one.
Taylor returned from his British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League club, Selkirk Saints, this week and will play this weekend.
The Berkeley Vale-based Petrie has been busy over the summer stamping his personality on the club.
Last season Petrie was thrust into the Sydney Ice Dogs’ coaching job a month into the competition when championship-winning coach Ron Kuprowsky and his staff suddenly resigned.
In reality Petrie coached a side Kuprowsky built.
This season at the North Stars is the opportunity the former Ice Dogs and Central Coast Rhinos defenceman has long craved.
‘‘Last year was much more about man management and making some tactical changes throughout the season,’’ he said.
‘‘Whereas this year I’ve been able to imprint a style of play and the way I like to see the game played and try to get everyone on that page.
‘‘It’s a bit more exciting and daunting in many ways, because a lot more weight is on my shoulders this week than last year.
‘‘It was bit of a salvage mission last year, while this is a full-time gig.’’