Aaron Nell believes that the Swindon Wildcats have extra motivation to everyone else as the National Ice Hockey League play offs begin this weekend.

The Wildcats finished the season in third place in the NIHL to set up play off matches against MK Lightning, Raiders IHC, and Telford Tigers.

Swindon had to deal with huge disruption to their season as the Link Centre was closed from September until December, causing them to have to work away from their home territory for much of the campaign.

Nell said that he doesn’t believe any other team would have dealt with that scenario as well as his team did and that will help spur them on in the post-season which begins on Saturday with a home game against MK Lightning.

He said: “Back in September we were having some very dark days and if you told us back then that we would be where we are now then I would have bitten your hand off.

“The players have been amazing, the club, the fans, and the sponsors have all come together and it has been a special year so far.

“It was massive for us; we have never had a group of players that are so close.

“I don’t think there would have been another team that would have got through it like we have and in the way that we have done it.

“I am very proud of them and what we have done, I just hope that we can finish it in the right way in April.

“The thing that gives me confidence is that we have been through so much, we have been through more than anyone and you gain strength from that.

“I know that the players are up for it and that is the most important thing.”

During the final two weeks of the regular season, Swindon got the chance to face MK and Raiders ahead of the play offs and Nell was glad to have been able to do that.

He said: “It just gives you a bit of belief [beating MK], I think we have played them eight times this year and the home team have won every game.

“We have them at home first so we need to be ready and try and get a big win.

“It was good to play the Raiders last as we haven’t played them in a long time and we get to see what they are about.”