SWINDON Wildcats will begin the new National Ice Hockey League season with a home cup tie against Telford Tigers on Saturday, September 18.

Aaron Nell’s squad will hit the ice for the first time a week prior when they take on Bracknell Bees in a friendly double-header that sees the Cats play at home on Saturday, September 11 before heading down the M4 for an away game the following day.

Coincidentally, the Bees have also been drawn to play Swindon on the first competitive Sunday of the new season, with Nell’s men travelling to the Slough Ice Arena for their second cup match.

After Hull Pirates’ withdrawal from the league this term, the new nine-team division will see teams play each other six times - three at home and three away for a total of 48 league fixtures.

The new season will begin with around a month of cup fixtures. These will take place between Friday, September 17 and Sunday, October 10 with each team playing each other once only.

Once the first cup competition finishes, the league campaign starts on Friday, October 15 and runs all the way until Sunday, April 3.

The play-offs are set to take place over the course of the following three weekends, with Coventry Finals Weekend pencilled in for April 31-May 1.

The Wildcats will entertain Basingstoke Bison on Boxing day before playing the reverse fixture the following evening.

In a busy new-year period where the fixture list has thrown up three games in four days, Swindon will play Milton Keynes Lightning at home on Thursday, December 30 before welcoming the Bees to the Link Centre on New Year’s Day. Nell’s side is set to head up to Yorkshire to take on Leeds Knights on Sunday, January 2, 2022.

Swindon are set to end their regular season with a Friday-night fixture away at the Bison before a home game against London Raiders rounds off the season.