Nottingham Panthers captain Danny Meyers expects an intense battle when his side meet Sheffield Steelers.
The two sides go head-to-head in Sheffield on Sunday, a week after Panthers beat the Steelers at the NIC.
Meyers told BBC Radio Nottingham: "The intense rivalry seems to have really picked up.
"I thought it might when Ryan Finnerty went back to Sheffield to become coach. There's certainly no love lost between him and Corey [Neilson]."
Following their Challenge Cup and play-off double success, Panthers were named BBC East Midlands Team of the Year 2011 at an award ceremony at Loughborough University on Thursday night and Meyers dedicated it to the whole Elite League.
"It was great, a great reflection of last year and brought back a lot of memories," said Meyers. "I have been going to the awards for the past four or five years and we had never been nominated for anything.
"I have presented a few awards but that was it, so it really was great to win.
"I feel like it was a victory for the whole of the Elite League. It was great to see an ice hockey team beat out football, cricket and rugby."