The 2017/18 ice hockey season gets underway this Sunday with the Lions first home game in the long thirty six game challenge that’s spread out before them.
Having decided to move from the NIHL 2 Laidler Conference to the greatly enhanced NIHL 1 Moralee Conference during the off season the Lions have been recruiting to meet the bigger demands required of the team in all departments.
With the EPIHL being dissolved the teams that made up what was the second tier in the sport were absorbed into the NIHL covering both the North and the South. In the North the Hull Pirates, Telford Tigers, and the Sheffield Steeldogs joined the NIHL 1 Moralee Conference which in effect became part of the new second tier in ice hockey sitting below the Elite League.
The Nottingham Lions management felt that a move to the Moralee would stretch the young players in their development but that the team would also require a greater cohort of experienced players in order to meet the challenges ahead.
To fill the gap and add that extra experience a number of players were approached and to the delight of the coaching staff several decided to make the move. In came Warren Tait, Marc Levers, James Hadfield, Richard Slater, all having made a significant mark within the sport, particularly Marc Levers (pictured below) who is very well known amongst Lions followers and certainly among the Panthers fans.
There has also been a number of returnees including Luke Thomas and Adz Andrews who are both hoping to keep the old wheels turning. Other new players to the team include Joe Aston and James Maughan who are both hoping to make their mark within the squad. A welcome returnee is Connor Glossop who, having left to join Peterborough Phantoms, has come back to his home club.
The players are all ready for the puck to drop on Sunday evening and what a start to the season in store for the Nottingham fans as last season’s EPIHL champions the Telford Tigers make their first visit to Nottingham. A team that has so regularly been in the limelight and is so full of talented players many of whom have remained with the team following the changes to the league structure. Certainly the name Tom Watkins is well known as Head Coach but for the Nottingham hockey fans the name Jon Weaver will probably be better known for his time with the Nottingham Panthers.
It will be a really tough start to the Lions campaign and the start of a massive learning curve for a number of players but the experience gained will be without measure. Don’t forget that you can watch the Lions at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evenings starting this weekend with a 7:30 face off. You won’t want to be late to your seat though with Lee Froch performing the ceremonial puck drop ahead of his EBF Heavyweight title fight at the arena on September 29th.
We have the cheapest tickets in the conference and you can pick up yours from the ticket office ahead of the game on Sunday evening. Prices are £5 for adults who can bring up to two under 16’s with them for free whilst the price for students and Nottingham Panthers season tickets holders is £3. Whilst you’re at Sunday night’s game why not find out more about the Nottingham Ice Hockey Supporters Trust where members get entry to one Lions game for free this season.
Come down to the Lion’s Den and join our Pride all this season at the National Ice Centre! For all the latest news and updates follow us on twitter @_TheLionsPride.