Stars’ new boy targets NIHL North title

Billingham Stars have strengthened their roster ahead of the upcoming NIHL North season with the signing of forward Jack Watkins.

The Durham-born 23-year-old returns to the North East after seven years away from the area building an impressive hockey CV.

Watkins has featured in championship sides in both the Elite League with Coventry Blaze and the EPL with Manchester Phoenix, as well as representing Great Britain at U18 and U20 level.

He said: “It’s time for me to move back to my home town of Durham after being away since the age of 16.

“It was a easy choice for me – I have a few people I like to call close friends playing for the Stars – people I grew up playing hockey with, so it will be nice to play alongside some of them once again.

“It will be especially nice to do that in a Stars jersey – it’s going to be a good year.

“There’s a couple of teams I’m looking forward to playing – obviously the Stars v (Whitley) Warriors rivalry is one of them. Whitley was the first club I played a senior game for so that will be special for me.

“I played a couple of games at NIHL level when I was at Manchester and the standard was a lot better than I expected – quite physical if I remember rightly, but I enjoy the physical side of the game.

“I’d like to think I will bring a little more offense to the Stars this year – I’ve not been a player who gets a lot of points so that’s something I’m looking to change about my game.

“Obviously the ultimate aim has to be the league title – that’s something I think we should have our eyes on as a team this season.”

(Image permission: Tony Sargent)

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