New coaches appointed to guide Dogs, Storm

The Southern Dogs made a quiet start to their preparations for the National Hockey League with a pre-season game against the Canterbury Beavers in Timaru on the weekend.

The match doubled as a trial and the honours were shared.

Southern manager John Thorn described the 2-2 draw as a good hit-out.

While that game may have dipped under the radar, Southern Hockey has made moves off the field, appointing two new coaches.

Clive Daniels will coach the Dogs this season. He is an experienced campaigner having worked with the Auckland NHL team as well as the South Australia Hotshots in the Australian Hockey League.

He led Auckland to victory in 2014 and will be assisted by former Black Stick James Nation and Josh Smith. He takes over the role from Mark Kake.

The Storm also has a new coach. Former Black Stick Matt L'Huillier is taking over the role from Tina Bell-Kake.

He will be assisted by Matt Rooney and Ben Verkalis, who have been leading the training sessions while L'Huillier is still in Melbourne.

The NHL gets under way next month and Thorn said he expected the Dogs squad would be named later this week.

The team is taking a different approach this season and will be looking to local players first.

''We'll have maybe 12-13 Dunedin-based players in the squad which is a big turnaround on what we've previously done,'' Thorn said.

''Then we can bolster our squad with region of origin players who play in Auckland or throughout the country.

''We are trying to stick to region of origin players where we can. There are some positions where we are a bit light ... but we are trying to build that depth down here.''

Black Sticks foursome Hugo Inglis, Blair Tarrant, Kane Russell and Nick Ross will not be available for the campaign due to club commitments overseas, but promising midfielder and new Black Stick Malachi Buschl is expected to suit up for the Dogs.

''I actually think our squad is more balanced and stronger than last year. Last year we had a strong 11 but this year we have a stronger 18.''

The Dogs finished fourth last season, losing the bronze medal playoff 6-1 to Capital.

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