Photography by Tadamasa Nagayama
The Siam Hockey League has switched venues, as its games for the 2020-2021 season will be played at the Imperial Samrong arena on Olympic-size ice. The opening night of the season on October 11 saw the defending champion Novotel Spitfires take on Aware in the first match while Mandalay played KCG in game two.
Novotel with only two players returning from their champion squad (captain Mike Freeson and Jason Bitter) came out of the gate on fire and jumped into an early 3-0 first-period lead. Aware stormed back, however, and at the end of two stanzas of play the score stood 4-3 in Novotel’s favour. In the third period, Novotel dug in and emerged with a 7-4 victory as Novotel’s Ken Kindborn, the captain of the Thai national team, led the way earning the Rolling Stone Pizzza player-of-the-game award with two goals and two assists. Captain Mike Freeson chipped in with a goal and two helpers, and Tomas Stastny, the son of long-time NHL star Anton Stastny, made his SHL debut for Novotel and scored on a nice goal living up to his early billing.