NIHL North round-up: Flav’s back for Stars, Silverthorn sticks with Telford

Billingham Stars have confirmed netminder James Flavell has agreed another season with the club.

Widely recognised as one of the leading goalies in NIHL North, Flavell posted an impressive 91.42 save percentage during the 2016/17 season and his return is a major boost to the Stars’ hopes of success next term.

Flavell said: “The former EPL clubs could well be what is needed for the league to maintain the growth that we’ve seen over recent years.

“I understand why people are hesitant about the changes, but so long as the league does its best to look after the interests of all the teams involved and not just the top I think it will be a good move.

“They are dropping down to our import levels but you would expect them to recruit some very strong British players.

“It’s going to be a very tough year both in terms of the standard of hockey and the amount of games.

“As long as we’re playing in competitive games it will be enjoyable and we’ll be looking forward to testing ourselves against some very strong teams. Having overtime and penalty shots is definitely a positive move in my opinion.”

Chris Sykes and Jack Emerson have also agreed another year with the Stars.

Telford Tigers 1 have secured the services of forward Jason Silverthorn.

The 37-year-old has been a key figure in Telford’s success in the EPL over the past few seasons and brings a wealth of experience to their roster for the upcoming D1 campaign.

Tigers’ boss Tom Watkins said: “Jason signing back in Telford is huge for the club, the team and the fans.

“From a coach’s perspective he brings everything, every night. He makes everyone around him a better player – he competes hard, has a huge desire to win and is a great captain for our club.

“He has a positive influence on the young players in Telford – he’s a great role model, always happy to offer support and advice to help them develop and improve.

“Jason and his family are settled in the area and that is great news for us.”

Solihull Barons have confirmed seven returnees to their squad including Niklas Ottosson, Richard Slater and Thomas Soar.

Josh Bruce, Joe Henry, Josh Nicholls and Ryan Selwood complete the list.

Martin Crammond and Daniel have agreed another year with Whitley Warriors, Charlie Thompson has been added to the Sheffield Steeldogs’ roster and Corey Stones has signed for Hull Pirates.

In D2, Jake Nurse has signed for a further year with Altrincham, while Mikey Gilbert has left the Aces to join Widnes Wild.

(Image permission: Mark Paterson)

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