Dulle: Stingrays can be shock top-flight force
CAPTAIN Kurtis Dulle insists Hull Stingrays can prove their critics wrong for the second successive season.
The low-budget Stingrays caused one of the biggest ever Rapid Solicitors Elite League play-off shocks by beating Sheffield Steelers in the 2011-12 quarter-finals.
Although Stingrays then found Nottingham Panthers too hot to handle and lost 10-3, just reaching the final four was a triumph in itself.
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And Dulle says Stingrays can give another good account of themselves this season when the Challenge Cup gets underway against Panthers at Hull Arena on Saturday.
Dulle said: "I've not had a chance to look at the team rosters, so I'm not sure who has picked up who, but I'll sit down in the next couple of days to check it out.
"Nottingham always bring in big players every year and they are successful.
"They're not my first choice of opponent for Saturday, but why not jump into the fire?
"We have to play all the teams eventually so we may as well see what happens.
"We might not have Shane Lovdahl here in time, and we are a team that needs all our imports in the line-up.
"However, each season we adapt and make the best use of what we have.
"Last year was the perfect example. From the start of the season people doubted us, but look at our success.
"We won when it mattered and that's what it's all about."
Saturday sees Dulle captain Stingrays for a third season, having returned in October last year, despite initially turning down a new deal.
He had played in Australia during the summer of 2011 before returning to his Canadian homeland to ponder his future.
In contrast, this year he put pen to paper early for the new organisation, now owned by the club's assistant coach Bobby McEwan.
The 32-year-old admits, though, he has reached the crossroads of his career, caught between deciding whether to make Hull a short-term or long-term stay.
He is anxious to use his business and administration degree to spread his talents into marketing the club.
"It's a little bit more than hockey this year," said Dulle.
"I want to get involved to help the team off the ice, helping promote it and maybe get involved in the community and sponsorship.
"I have done everything I can do in terms of the hockey side of playing, I need a new passion and things to work towards.
"I've got to decide where to go from here, whether it's one last hurrah playing-wise before the start of a new journey back home, or if I'm here for the long haul."