The start of the 2016-17 season is upon us and that means one thing. Standard League Hockey! The Principal Standard League is back, and this year better than ever. This year features many new players and new sponsors. This is a milestone year, as it is the 5th year in existence. The teams have added many strong players from other leagues in Hong Kong, which means this will be the fastest, most skilled and most competitive season yet. What will not change this season is that Principal will continue its important relationship with the league, again fielding a team of young Hong Kong standouts. Ex-NHL’er and last year’s player/coach Barry Beck will continue exclusively behind the bench this season, as he will lead his most skilled team yet. Last year’s team got out to a ferocious start after a 2014 campaign which was dismal to put it mildly. They won four of their first five games and fought their way into the finals, where they fell to a red hot Verity team. While they have a deeper roster with younger talent, they will have to contend with the other teams who have also added stronger players. One of those stronger teams, Verity, will open the season where they finished it, in a game against the young Principal team. Sponsor Verity and Mr. Kelvin Ko, continue their support of the league with their 3rd consecutive year as league sponsor. This team was red hot at the end of the year, getting momentum at the right time en route to the Championship. This was spearheaded by outstanding goaltending, and their opponents will have to tend with this factor again this year as they added Hong Kong National Team Goaltender King Ho to their roster. League sponsor and supporter Winner Medical, returns to field another strong team for the 5th consecutive season. Mr. Kevin Orr, General Manager of Winner Medical Group and their team, will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2016 campaign after taking the championship in 2015. Their team this year fields its own group of strong players, including many Hong Kong National Team players. Perhaps most notably is the return of Alvin Sham, who has not played in the league since the 2013-14 season where he blew away the league stats with 42 goals. Second in the league in goals that year was Don Ho with 18. The 4th and final team in the League this year is a new sponsor, Gaggia, The founder of Italian Espresso. They have been a partner in other levels of hockey such as the Hong Kong Women’s Ice Hockey League and the Hong Kong Amateur Hockey Club Amateur Hockey League, and the Principal Standard League is proud to have them on board. Gaggia Executive Director will also be a player on the team, which should make things interesting on the ice. Iced coffee anyone? The league drops the puck to start the 2016-17 season on Tuesday September 6th at 21:15 and will play at the same date and time all season long. Come out and see the games!