The Nottingham Lions are pleased to announce that no-fewer than four of the team’s junior-club products are to return to their roster for the forthcoming season.
Defenseman Craig Wallis along with forwards Reece Glossop, Joseph Steeples and Christy Johnson-Brown have all committed to the Lions for 2013/14.
All four players have played alongside each other for almost a decade as part of the Nottingham Ice Hockey Club’s junior system and this announcement once again reiterates the Lions’ commitment to developing the city’s future hockey stars by providing a stepping-stone towards a professional contract in the sport.
They will all hope to follow in the footsteps of Sam Gospel, Gareth O’Flaherty and Ollie Betteridge who all played for the Lions last season and now find themselves with contracts for EPL clubs for the forthcoming new campaign.
Nineteen year-old Wallis broke through into the team during the 2011/12 season but really established himself last year, picking up two goals and five assists, missing just one game during the Lions’ championship winning season.
Fiesty Glossop (19), also established himself as a mainstay on Nottingham’s teamsheet last season, helping himself to four goals and one assist to go with his thirty-nine penalty minutes.
Never afraid to ‘drop the gloves’ – eighteen year-old Steeples accumulated the teams’ second-highest amount of time spent in the sin bin with a sizeable forty-nine minutes in the box, with a very useful five goals and four assists along the way.
Finally, the ever-improving Johnson-Brown (20) has signed on the dotted line ready for September following on from another superb year where he racked-up a impressive twelve goals and twelve assists, five of those goals came in a 12-3 demolition of Fylde Flyers at Sub-Zero Ice Rink back in March.
Lions Head Coach Matt Bradbury took time out spoke to nottinghamlions.co.uk to give his thoughts on the four youngsters and what he is expecting from them this year, saying;
“Craig was definitely one of the most consistent defencemen in the side last year and was very dependable. He always gets on with the job in hand, nothing too fancy. Having said that there is still plenty of room for improvement to take his game to another level, although I think he will take it in his stride. We look forward to seeing him back on the blue line.”
”Reece is a good team player. Last season was his most productive on record and it was great to see him picking up points. I really want to see him push on and get himself in and around the net.”
“Joe is a hard working team player and another Nottingham product that’s returning as a senior player at such a young age, entering his third season of involvement with the team. He is a big lad that’s not afraid to get stuck in and stand up for himself or his team mates.”
“Christy is a great asset to the Lions, he is fit and prepared to skate through a brick wall for the team. I’m sure with some more consistent displays he will rack up some important points like he did in Fylde.”
Reece Glossop and Christy Johnson-Brown also caught up with nottinghamlions.co.uk this week and both spoke of their excitement for the upcoming new season and beyond, with Recce saying;
“We know the new conference will be even more competitive than last year with the likes of Coventry, Solihull, Deeside, Sheffield and Widnes all to play and we know we’ll have to build on last years efforts – hopefully we’ll all be coming back a year older and wiser.”
“Last Friday I went down to help out with the youngsters at the Lions Academy and there’s some great local talent coming through and with some guidance and nurturing I’m sure it won’t be long until some of those players are brought up by the coaches to train with us.”
Christy Johnson-Brown added;
“I really learnt a lot last year, it was the best I’ve had as a senior so far and I’m sure this season will be just as exciting – I can’t wait to get started.”
“With Chris (Allen) already signed I’m sure that we’re the envy of other teams – the amount of support and influence he can have with us young guys will be phenomenal and I’m sure that any new players that the coaching staff bring in will only compliment us and fit into the team well.”
Keep checking back at nottinghamlions.co.uk over the coming days and weeks for more exiting signing news as the start of the inaugural NIHL Laidler Confernce draws ever closer.