Whitley Warriors are delighted to confirm that starting netminder Richie Lawson and the ever impressive Harry Harley will both be part of David Longstaff’s squad for the 2016/17 campaign. The club can also confirm that youngsters Kyle Ross and Mark Turnbull will not be part of the Warriors fold next season as the 2 teenagers have been able to secure a superb opportunity in North American hockey.
Whitley’s excellent showings last season were built on a solid defence and netminder Richie Lawson put in a number of outstanding displays in the Warriors net. Richie has proven himself to be a top goalie during his time with the club while also taking the time to help the other goaltenders in the Warriors camp such as Mark Turnbull and Jordan Boyle.
Richie gave us his take on the upcoming season.
“The way we went out in the playoffs last season left a real bitter taste in my mouth, I’m looking forward to getting back out there and starting the season strong. I’m looking forward to pushing for a league title, improving on last year both as a team and my personal performance.
“The league is looking competitive with the signings announced so far – it is still very early doors to look at favourites for the title: Solihull will be a team to watch building on from last year, and I expect Billingham to come back strong after a disappointing campaign. I think we have to start the season strong, and dominate teams in our own rink much like we did last season for any chance of league title success.
“Looking at early signings we have made I have every confidence in the strong core group we have- I’d personally be disappointed if we are not competing for 1st place. I hope to see Craig Johnson start to log more minutes and continue to develop into a real strong solid defenceman. He has very heavy shot from the point, and is rarely caught out of position defensively.
“As for teams I looking forward to playing- You can’t look any further than the Billingham rivalry, it always feels good to get wins against them- especially going to their home rink and steeling their thunder!”
Harry Harley is likely to be playing just in front of Richie this coming season as he had a superb season playing in defence last term. Harry’s great positional play makes him hard to get the better of defensively while he is also capable of surging forward from the blue line to create chances and pick up a healthy number of points.
Harry shared his views on the coming season and where the position he now prefers to play in.
“I’m happy to be signing back with the Warriors this season. I’m looking forward to attempting to go one step further than we did last year in the league. Working with Lobby and Dave is great they are two great coaches they both know a lot about the sport and are always willing to offer advice to progress players.
“I much prefer to play defence than forward, I feel more in control of the game and I can contribute more to the team. I think Solihull will be the team to watch this year they seem to be putting together a strong team.”
As mentioned at the start of this article 2 of the youngsters who have come through the ranks at Hillheads are off to pastures new next season as Kyle Ross and Mark Turnbull are off to North America to ice for the Wiarton Rock in the GMHL. Both youngsters have given their all to the Warriors cause over their time with the club and I’m sure everyone associated with ice hockey in the area wishes them well.
Warriors Player/coach David Longstaff shared his thoughts on the youngsters exciting move across the pond.
“Myself and the entire Warriors organisation are delighted at the opportunity Mark and Kyle have secured for themselves. Going forward we hope that we can help as many of the young players in our squad as possible to become full time professional ice hockey players.”
Kyle also took the time to share how the move came about.
“I had a few emails from teams in Canada asking me to go and join them. I decided that it was an opportunity that I could not turn down. I’m looking forward to playing with people from different countries and hopefully improving my game as you have to train 5 days a week both on and off ice.
“I will miss the Warriors next season as they have helped me improve as a player and I hope they do well next season. It will be hard being away from everyone that helped me to get this opportunity. I hope to improve my game though and help the team do the best they can and see what opportunities come along next.”
Warriors fans are encouraged to keep an eye on the clubs website and social media platforms as Whitley are set to name more members of their 2016/17 squad in the next few days.