NEWCASTLE North Stars coach Andrew Petrie expects a few “barbs” to be flying his way when his team travel to Canberra to play the CBR Brave on Saturday.
The Brave poached 2015 league MVP Geordie Wudrick from the North Stars just before the season, and Petrie responded with some tongue-in-cheek comments about Canberra in the Herald three weeks ago.
The teams have met twice this season, both in Newcastle. The Brave won the first in a shootout, and Newcastle demolished the Canberra visitors 7-2 last weekend.
A band of about 30 Canberra supporters turned up to Hunter Ice Skating Stadium last Sunday wearing T-shirts with the slogan: “We live in the middle of nowhere because we’re brave.”
Petrie expects a cool reception when the North Stars travel to Phillip Ice Skating Centre on Saturday.
“I’m certain that there’ll be some barbs shot my way, and perhaps deservedly so,” Petrie said on Friday.
The Brave are in fourth place on 12 points after nine games, seven behind the North Stars in equal second.
“I think there’s a number of reasons CBR will be fired up this weekend, and I think least of all is their attitude towards me or the North Stars,” Petrie said.
“Just the fact that they’ve lost three in a row and they’re probably at a point in their season that they probably didn’t expect to be.
“They’ve gone to a lot of trouble to recruit some big talent . . . they’ve got a losing record, they’re clinging to fourth spot, so I would imagine they’re fired up to win, no matter who was coming into their barn tomorrow.”
The rivalry with the Brave, who were founded in 2014, is somewhat new, but the North Stars will face a more traditional rival in the Sydney Ice Dogs on Sunday at home.
Petrie left the Ice Dogs for the North Stars at the end of the 2014 season and guided them to last year’s title.