BLACKBURN Hawks are hoping to hand a debut to Latvian signing Ivo Dimitrijevs in their match at Trafford tonight.
Dimitrijevs joined the Hawks for training last month and, after a wait for clearance, coach Jared Owen hopes will be given the go-ahead in time to play in today’s north west derby.
Hawks go into the English National Ice Hockey League North One on the back of a shock 7-0 defeat at home to Solway Sharks last weekend and the 20-year-old from Riga would provide a much-needed boost.
Dimitrijevs previously played for junior side Arizona RedHawks in the Western States Hockey League in America and will be clear to play providing he receives his international transfer card from the International Ice Hockey Federation in Switzerland.
“We’re just waiting for his international transfer card and hopefully that will be done in time for the game,” Owen said.
“He had been playing in the junior league in America with the Arizona RedHawks but he got in touch in the summer and asked if we needed players.
“He had a trial in Finland but I don’t think it worked out.
“He’s been living in the UK in Nottingham but he’s moved to Blackburn now and got employment here because he wanted to join us.
“He’s a goalscorer, he’s quick and he’s got good hands, so hopefully he will get some goals for us.”
Hawks secured a brace of 4-3 wins over Trafford in a double header against their north west rivals last month and Owen wants a big improvement on the performance against Solway.
“We have trained well this week and we’ve said that was a blip and that games doesn’t define what we do in other games,” he said.
“We’re notorious after a week off. We’d been on a bit of a roll before that but we came back after the week off and it was just one of those games when everything went wrong on the ice.
“We made the same mistakes time and again, and we’ve worked on it at training this week and highlighted areas to improve, to try to iron out those issues.
“They are always close games against Trafford, normally with one goal in it.
“We had two games against them last month and won 4-3 both times.
“We just want to look forward now and forget about the Solway game.”