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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Devils lose Sacratini
Devils forward Vezio Sacratini misses the finals through injury
Devils forward Vezio Sacratini misses the finals through injury
Cardiff Devils coach Dave Whistle admits the loss of Vezio Sacratini for the Elite League play-off finals weekend is a massive blow.

The Italy forward was hit in the face by a puck in Devils' penultimate play-off group game, in which the Welsh side beat Nottingham Panthers 1-0.

"We will miss Vez. He's probably our best offensive power and we needed him for our special teams," Whistle said.

The Devils face Sheffield Steelers in the semi-final stage on Saturday.

Whistle, who steered Belfast Giants to the play-off crown last year, is now attempting to help Cardiff regain the trophy they last won in 1999.

Peterborough Phantoms' top points scorer and Devils legend Doug McEwen has agreed to step in as cover for the semi-final at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham.

Meanwhile, Canadian enforcer Mike Ware aims to bow out on a high after deciding to retire after the finals weekend.

The 37-year-old, in his second spell for Devils having also iced for Murrayfield Racers, Steelers and London Knights, was part of the latter's play-off final success in 2000.

"I could not imagine finishing my career anywhere else but Cardiff," admitted Ware, who made five appearances in the North American National Hockey League for Edmonton Oilers.

"This is a great hockey city and I am honoured to have played for and captained the Devils. This club will always have a place in my heart."

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