PAISLEY Pirates are preparing for the most significant couple of weeks of the ice hockey season as they gear up for the play-offs - with plans already in place as they look further ahead to the 2019/20 season.

Pirates finished second in the Scottish National Ice Hockey League to clinch a play-off spot behind champions Murrayfield Racers with head coach Ian Turley revealing that he, along with player/coach Adam Walker, is thrilled with the progress his side has made over the course of the regular season.

“Both Adam and I have been happy with the progress we feel we’ve made this season,” Turley told Gazette Sport. “We were ultimately second in the league, where we finished last year, but we were ahead of everyone we came up against last year and lost out only to the Racers - a side which has been packed full of established talent and which has been playing in a higher standard NIHL all year.

“We’ve continued to surprise teams this year and, after a slow start, we’ve played to a high standard consistently and the players deserve every credit for going out and putting into practice what Adam and I have been preaching to them. 

"They’ve also had to overcome major injuries to several key players at various times and that says a lot for their character.

The Gazette: Pirates saw off the Tigers twice in the regular seasonPirates saw off the Tigers twice in the regular season

"We’ll be looking to continue that progress next season and we’re already planning to create a development pathway which will assist in the process of bringing in good young players. 

"We’re already getting enquiries from people wanting to come to the Pirates next year and we’ll be looking at that over the coming months."  

Firstly, however, the Paisley side now have the small matter of the play-offs to contend with as they travel to Dundee this weekend to take on the Dundee Tigers.

“We’ve first got the Tigers over the next two weekends in the opening stages of the play-offs,” Turley continued. “They will be no pushovers. We’ll need to be firing on all cylinders if we’re to progress to the finals weekend at the end of the month.

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“It’s a tournament we’ve yet to win and every team will think they’ve got a decent chance of going all the way. With the competition sure to be the most open it’s been in recent times, we very much want to be a part of it.”

Face-off versus Tigers this Saturday in Dundee is 7.30pm.