Nottingham Lions have targeted success in this season’s NIHL North Laidler D2 play-offs after narrowly missing out on the final in 2015/16.
Lions lost 3-1 against Widnes Wild in last year’s semi-final, but with some promising prospects added to their roster hopes are high they can go one better this time around.
Influential forward Connor Glossop was the latest Lions player to progress higher up the scale during the summer when he signed for the EPL’s Peterborough Phantoms, but Head Coach Matt Bradbury has been able to tap into the club’s conveyor belt of talent to boost his squad.
Liam Redwood, Conor Hardy, Harry Hopkins and Declan Orange have all featured in Lions’ opening three games of the season, adding depth to a roster that secured third place in the league last term.
Former Solihull Barons and Coventry Blaze NIHL defender Luke Smith has also joined the club, along with ex-Great Britain Olympic speed skater Paul Stanley.
Despite winning just one of their opening three games of the season, ‘D’ man Adam Andrews (above) believes the Lions are capable of a successful campaign.
“We’re doing this differently this year by bringing our kids in from the start rather than filtering then through,” said Andrews.
“Naturally a few inconsistent results will happen, but long term they will develop.
“Our expectations are for a top four finish and to make the play-off weekend, but it’s going to be far from easy.
“Every team has improved this year and brought players in from around the leagues to help boost their chances, so it’s going to be a fantastic year in Laidler D2.”
After impressing last season defender Elliot Perrin (above) has been appointed as the club’s new captain, while off the ice the Lions continue to be supported by local company Solutions for Accounting.
Andrews believes Perrin will prove to be an excellent skipper and thinks the Lions have the structure in place to enjoy a bright future.
“Pez was a popular choice within the squad – he’s a very humble and hard-working guy who leads by example every shift,” said Andrews.
“He’s a perfect role model for the younger guys coming into the team on and off the ice.
“I’m also pleased that Solutions for Accounting’s managing director Iain Barker has again pledged to support the club.
“It ensures the club has a secure future and can continue to nurture and develop the next up-and-coming talent from the Lions Academy – it’s something we’re all extremely grateful for.”
Lions are back in action at home to Altrincham Aces on Sunday, but Andrews had a final message for fans in another part of Britain this weekend.
“If you’re in the North East on Sunday get down to Whitley Bay for the Warriors’ game against Billingham Stars.
“The clubs have joined forces to raise money for three-year-old Frankie Sherwood who’s in need of expensive life-saving treatment.
“The hockey community are trying to do all they can to provide Frankie with the funding needed for his operation, so please give your support and help to make a difference.”
(Image permission: Peter McConnochie)