We recently had a chance to catch up with Peterborough DALROD Phantoms Captain James Ferrara on all things ice hockey (and football). Here is what he had to say:

How is your off-season going? What do you do when there is no hockey?
It’s going well so far. Obviously I am still working, and have a lot of deadlines to meet in the next few weeks before the summer, so that is keeping me busy. I try to find as many opportunities to do some training, whether that is outside involving some running/sprints, or working out in the gym. I meet up with Robert and Luke when I can to train; it makes it more fun and challenging. I have also been learning some new techniques from Erik (Piatak) this summer too. The rest of my time is spent visiting family and friends, or presently watching the World Cup.

A lot of new faces are coming to the Phantoms. How do you think the addition of all these new players will impact the team going into next season?
I think we have made some good signings so far, which should make us a stronger outfit next season. I believe we needed to change a few things around after last year, and Slava has certainly done that so far. It is shaping up to be an exciting season next year, and I fully expect us to be more competitive. We have a mixture of youth and experience coming in which is also important. I’m looking forward to us signing a couple more new players, but hope we sign a couple more players from last year’s team as well.

Along with the new players, we have a returning cast as well. What will be needed to gel new and returning players in September/October?
I think getting in as many training sessions and challenge matches as possible to give us as much time as possible to understand how each other plays. Line combinations and D pairings can be ironed out, and as a team we can understand some of the systems Slava wants to use before the league gets under way. It will be important we get to socialise as a team before the season starts to help form friendships, and the returning players can help any new players to settle in further.

As a result of new elite league rules, a lot of teams have signed former elite league players. How do you think this will impact the season?
I think it will be good for the league. I think most teams will be stronger again from last season, and it is a great challenge for some younger players to come up against some very experienced players new to the EPL. I believe the hockey in our league will improve and there should be some exciting games throughout. Some obvious teams will be improving from last year and it is up to us to match them. There will be some challenging games, but I’m confident we will rise to the challenge.

As team captain, what will your leadership message be to the team going into the 2014-15 season?
For now, to enjoy the summer but be ready for the new season because we should expect the best of ourselves, to reach our collective goals and put last season behind us. As long as the players are working hard to be ready for the new season, we will be very competitive, and I’m sure provide entertainment for the fans. I’m looking forward to it.

Bonus: What do you think of England’s chances in the World Cup?
I’m not convinced England will win, but I like their squad as they have some exciting players and am hoping they can do well in their next couple of games to qualify for the second round, and I am quietly confident they can surprise a few teams.