CRUCIAL revenue will be generated for Swindon Wildcats should they defeat Basingstoke Bison over two legs in this weekend’s NIHL South Cup semi-final.

Despite no prize money being on offer for the winners of the competition, Cats player-coach Aaron Nell stressed the importance of gate revenue generated from additional fixtures – especially cup finals.

After landing the Autumn Trophy and NIHL Cup last season, Nell has channelled his side’s main attention on adding to their trophy cabinet.

And a two-legged win over Bison this weekend will certainly go far in Nell’s quest to establish themselves as one of the biggest teams in southern ice hockey.

He said: “There is no prize money for winning the competition, but I know our two cup finals last year were big for us with the amount of fans that were there.

“The first thing is about winning the cup and trying to compete in whatever competition it might be.

“But the extra gates are big for the club. You want to be playing as many games as possible, and as many big games.

“The two cups last year certainly helped us remove the monkey from our back, and we got two great crowds as well.

“Hopefully we can have some success and strong crowds again this time.”

The Wildcats have already faced Basingstoke three times this season – winning their one home tie, while honours have been shared with one win apiece in both away fixtures at Planet Ice.

Captained by Elite League legend Ashley Tait, the Bison pose significant dangers to Swindon.

And Nell understands that his side must be on top of their game if they are to record a first-leg advantage tomorrow night at the Link Centre (6.15pm).

He said: “Ourselves and Basingstoke right now are the two in-form teams.

“They are a team that play extremely hard, and all three games against them this season have been close – it will be the same again this weekend.

“Our two cup wins last season were huge for us. The same applies for this season if we can be successful.

“We were gutted we couldn’t defend the Autumn Trophy – but the four teams remaining in the NIHL South Cup are the top four teams in our league.

“The players last week were excellent, things are looking good at the moment.

“It’s about trying to maintain that and keeping it up to ensure for a strong finish to the season.”