By Kris Smith
The Stars GM and Head Coach has worked hard all summer to recruit a fast and exciting team for the fans in Dundee and now he can finally see his players in front of him and begin to shape them into the team, that he hopes can continue to defy expectations.
Speaking ahead of the first day of training camp and reflecting upon his summer recruitment, Mason said: “I am really excited, I was able to stay true to the process that I was using to put the team together and I got the type of players that I wanted.
“We have a lot of guys that are young, hungry and really excited to make their mark as young pros or as someone just starting out, then we have a great mix of veterans that are quality players that want to win and want to help these other guys develop.
“Everyone that I spoke to over the summer were all very intent on wanting to have success as a team and win things, and that is where it starts, then once the season begins, you have to go out there and do the work.
“I am really looking forward to it and as the days have gotten closer, the reality of the season starting is beginning to sink in and that is the part that I really enjoy.
“So, getting on the ice, working with the players and actually seeing guys develop and getting the competitive juices flowing again is really exciting, so we are all ready to get going and looking forward to big things ahead.”
The first test that Mason will put his side through is back-to-back friendlies against his former employers, Belfast Giants this weekend.
Discussing his expectations of the two exhibition matches and what he expects from a Giants side who are preparing for the Champions Hockey League, Jeff said: “Preseason is always teams trying to figure out new systems and how they are going to play and what their identity will be.
“It is early and guys will be hungry to show what they can do, and I know Belfast have a good amount of new players too, so they will want to make an impact and a statement for their new club.
“Aside from that, I know the way Adam Keefe approaches the preseason as well and it is all about learning and trying to build your foundations for the season ahead.
“I expect they will be tough games and they will have an extra week of practice and two games, in which I think the games against Cardiff Devils will be hard-fought games, like they always are.
“But for us, it is about just focusing on ourselves and learning what our identity is and hopefully we will have as close as possible to a full roster, but it will also give a lot of guys a chance to be in situations they maybe would not be at the start and an opportunity to establish themselves, get some extra ice time and show what they can do – that is what the preseason is all about.”
There is still time for you to get your tickets for the upcoming preseason fixtures and you can buy those HERE