Billingham Stars have issued a major statement of intent to the rest of NIHL North after securing the services of two Swedish forwards.
Daniel Palmebjörk joins the Moralee D1 club having previously played for IF Björklöven and Tegs SK in the third tier of hockey in Sweden, while Dennis Boström returns to the club for his second season.
Palmebjörk was Tegs SK’s leading goalscorer last term with 16 goals in 35 games, while Boström proved his worth in 2015/16 by becoming the first Billingham player to score over 30 goals for the club since Tom Brown in 2000.
The duo are former teammates in their homeland and Palmebjörk says he’s looking forward to linking up with his friend once again.
“I’ve been thinking about playing abroad for a while and Dennis was a big part of my decision to come to England,” he said.
“It’s easier to come to a new team and a new country with a familiar face, and he has told me a lot of good things about both the town and the Stars organisation.
“I want to experience living and playing hockey in a different country – leaving my comfort zone and my hometown where I’ve spent my whole life.
“My knowledge of British hockey is limited, but I know that the Stars are a good team with a chance of winning the League and that’s what I’m coming over to do.”
Boström admitted he’s delighted to be returning and wants to make up for the disappointment of finishing outside the play-off places last season.
“I came to the UK with an open mind but I was impressed with the standard of British ice hockey,” Boström said.
“This season I think we have a team capable of beating any other and the play-offs is our goal.
“We have to be more consistent in every game and do the little things right – if we manage that we can go all the way to the title.”
Billingham’s General Manager Allen Flavell has been busy behind the scenes over the summer building a squad capable of improving massively on last season’s fifth-place finish.
Earlier this week Stars announced influential forwards Michael Elder and James Moss had agreed another season, although ‘D’ man Andy Munroe confirmed he wouldn’t be back after accepting a job offer further south.
Despite Munroe’s departure, Flavell is in buoyant mood ahead of the upcoming season.
“We know all about Dennis, he was our top points scorer last season and he certainly endeared himself to the fans,” said Flavell.
“Daniel is new to our shores, but we know he is a silky-smooth forward who knows where the net is.
“Coupled with the signing of Jack Watkins and all of last year’s forwards the Stars have a very impressive attacking line-up indeed.”
(Image permissions: Palmebjörk – Tegs SK; Boström – IceHockeyMedia)