By Kris Smith

One of the key players brought into the Stars team last season insists he is ready to step into a bigger role and believes he can improve by staying in Tayside.

The Kitmart Dundee Stars were able to lock-up star man Brian Hart early in the summer and he has been training hard throughout the offseason, now he is back and ready for the first big challenge the improved squad will face.

After a great first campaign with Stars, Brian explained why, just like his brother, he choose to return, he said “It is great to be back in Dundee, I had a great time playing here last year, living here, meeting the fans and Kevin also loved it here”.

When asked if it was a hard choice to commit to another season in Dundee, Brian replied: “No, not at all, halfway through the season, I really liked where I was living and was happy playing for Pach and really liked the city and was comfortable here.

“I saw myself becoming a better player here, improving and playing a bigger role the following year.

“I was always hoping to play for the Stars the following year.”

After the first few days of training camp, he shared his thought on how the team were looking after a lot of new faces had been drafted in.

“The atmosphere has been positive around camp, I am really excited about the guys Pach has recruited and brought in, especially the defencemen, we have some mobile puck moving defencemen that I am really excited about playing with.” Said Hart.

During the off-season, Brian said there was two parts of his game he wanted to improve this season.

He said: “Two things I really wanted to focus on in the off-season was my finishing and my stick-handling.

“In a lot of games last year, I felt comfortable lugging the puck up the ice or in the d-zone or playing two-way hockey.

“I had a lot of opportunities I didn’t finish around the net.

“This summer I spent a lot of time handling the puck in my driveway and stuff like that, every day I was stick-handling and shooting pucks.

“So hopefully I can improve my offensive game this season.”

Omar Pacha has spent all week drilling the new systems and positive habits into his squad. Talking about the preseason preparations Hart said: “We have been preparing in the last few days of the preseason and we have been skating really hard.

“We had a great workout today and we have a few more practices before preseason games, I think myself and the team will be ready to battle through a lot of games and play for a lot of points.”

Thirteen new players were brought into Pacha’s roster this summer and Hart says he can see that there has been real improvements.

Brian said: “Omar has done a tremendous job recruiting over the summer, he brought in some players we either lacked last year or improved upon.

“We have some guys who can snipe up front, (François) Bouchard is good around the net and I really like (Charles) Corcoran and the way he has come in.

“He is a skilled and fast forward, I think he has a lot of upside in this league.

“I mentioned it earlier, but the defence has been improved, you can notice it in practice.

“We have some mobile defencemen who can hit you on the tape and move the puck well.”

After a disappointing end to last season as Stars were eliminated from the playoff race in the final weeks of the regular season, the 24-year old said it was “devastating”.

He said: “the number one goal this year is 100 per cent making the playoffs, last year we were in the hunt a little bit towards the end but once we were out it was devastating.

“We had some tough losses and all off season I thought about making Nottingham and playing for a championship, we don’t want to just make the playoffs, we want to make noise in the playoffs.”

“I think we have a team that can do that, as long as we stay healthy, work hard and have a close knit group, we may have less bodies and we need to be team first guys and I think we have that kind of locker room.” Added Hart.

As Dundee begin their final preparations for their first fixtures against German opposition from the DEL2, Hart concluded: “I haven’t heard much about Freiburg, but I am excited to play them just because it is a different kind of test for us.

“Last year I arrived in October and did not really have a chance to play any preseason games or anything like that.

“So, I think it will be good for guys to prove themselves and also for me to prove myself again.

“I just hope we can win our first couple preseason games at home and show the fans what kind of team we have this year.”

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Trade-Mart Dundee Stars Team
54 Games
22 Wins
25 Losses
7 OT Losses
51 Points