Telford Tigers have bid farewell to import Max Birbraer, with the 35-year-old set to continue his career away from the Shropshire club.
Birbraer was a member of Telford’s double-winning squad of 2014/15, and again proved popular with supporters and players alike last season.
Head Coach Tom Watkins said: “Max has been an incredibly popular member of our squad for two years and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
He now has a young family to consider, so I totally understand his decision to spend more time at home. Max will always be assured of a warm welcome back here in Shropshire, by coaching staff, players and fans.”
Watkins’ team-building plans have been boosted by Wayne Scholes’ announcement that he will continue to provide significant financial backing to the EPL club.
Scholes, who bought the Tigers in 2013, rececntly transferred nearly all of his ownership of Telford Ice Sports Ltd to Matt Bowyer and Paul Thomason who will operate the club going forward.
Despite the changes, Scholes has pledged to contribute £100,000 in sponsorship and £100,000 in salary costs for full-time club staff.
“I think the Tigers are in a fantastic place, and can be really successful next season,” said Scholes.
“Matt will be a great CEO. He has incredible contacts, and can really help drive the club forward, with locally-based leadership on a day-to-day basis.
“With Thommo also involved you have someone who is part of the fabric of the club – it’s the perfect combination.
“It shows how far we’ve come that some people viewed last season’s fourth place as a failure, despite it being our second highest league finish in 16 years.
“Matt has such great drive and ambition – he’s determined to bring in new sponsors and help grow the club. That’s something everyone can really get on board with.
“With my work and travel commitments it made total sense for someone who can be there for the Tigers at all times to take the lead.
“I don’t want to be the guy hovering in the background or having to check things before they are signed off.
“This new structure is clear and simple, and gives Matt and Thommo total autonomy to call the shots.”
Telford have already been assembling their roster for the upcoming season and Scholes says he’s excited for the club’s future.
“I can’t wait to see how the team gel, but with the new players we have coming in I think it’s going to be a very special year,” he added.
“I’m just looking forward to enjoying it slightly more as a fan, knowing the club is in safe hands and that those running it have its best interests at heart.”
(Image permission: Steve Brodie)