Clarkson thinks small rink will give Tigers an advantage

Doug Clarkson believes Telford’s smaller rink size could be a big advantage for the Tigers next season.

The Canadian forward arrives in the EPL with a burgeoning reputation from two years in the Elite League with Cardiff Devils and Dundee Stars.

It was in South Wales that Clarkson scored 43 points in just 59 games, with much of that contribution coming on the Devils’ smaller ice pad.

With Telford also having a smaller home venue – as opposed to the standard 200ft by 100ft rink size – Clarkson is looking forward to his debut.

He said: “I don’t think I will need to adjust to the league very much. In Cardiff we had a small rink, and other teams like Manchester have small rinks and I’ve done very well there.

“Hopefully, with the team that Tom is building, we can make Telford Ice Rink a tough place for other teams to play. On a smaller ice pad, our size will definitely be a big advantage.

“I don’t know the standard very much, but I think it is a good league with good British players who are developing. It won’t be easy for any of us, but then I would never expect it to be.

“The last two seasons I’ve had good numbers and especially last season, when I was battling an injury for three months. I expect to contribute at a high rate and help Telford be successful in all competitions.”

The 27-year-old winger quickly became a fans’ favourite in both Cardiff and Dundee, following an early career in the ECHL and Canadian university system.

He will live in Telford with his young family and is already keen to repeat his previous popularity, this time with the Tigers’ fanbase.

He added: “The fans are always huge for settling in, especially at the start. It always helps to make your wife and yourself comfortable when you feel that backing from them.

“I think the support throughout the year and in the community is the biggest help to us. Being loud at the games and letting players know how much they support them is key.”

The presence of Tigers’ boss Tom Watkins was another big draw for Clarkson, who is already planning for a career away from competitive action.

“I decided to sign with Telford because I wanted to play for an organisation that is professional and has high expectations for every trophy,” he said.

“When I’m done playing hockey I want to get into coaching and learning that side of the game from Tom, and helping with the junior programme, is going to be very beneficial.

“Tom told me when we first spoke that he wanted to win, and that’s what I want as well.

“We share very similar ideas on how to be successful, like how a good dressing room and good guys off the ice are a huge part of being successful.”

(Image permission: Derek Black)

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