Lee Valley Lions begin hunt
- Credit: Archant
Coach Alley looking for roaring start to new season
Lee Valley Lions get the new National League Division Two South East underway with a home match against Swindon on Saturday (5.30pm).
And head coach George Alley is excited to be taking charge of his boyhood club for the first time, having playedin goal for London Raiders last season.
He said: “It was weird starting games on the other side of the rink when I was with the Raiders. I’m really happy to be doing this.
“It’s great to finally reach this point. Apart from a five-day holiday, I’ve been in the rink every week since June for summer skates and pre-season.
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“What’s more important is that the players are really eager to get going. A lot of them will feel they can contribute more this season and I’m looking forward to seeing that play out on the ice.”
Lions will be captained by Nick Alley and have several familiar faces returning to their line-up, such as Ben Duffy, Chris Fox and James Scott-Joseph.
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And the coach has been happy with their efforts in pre-season, adding: “August generally means at least three or four members of your team are on holiday each week and you rarely have a full squad for training.
“Those who’ve been there have responded well and are putting a lot of effort in on the ice. Nick has been running off-ice sessions beforehand which allows us to get more technical work into the on-ice sessions.
“I set out my stall in the first session so everyone has a good idea of what I expect from them. I want the team to work their hardest, manage their shifts properly and not get frustrated when something goes wrong, which happened a lot last year.
“I know what the players are capable of achieving this season, it doesn’t matter what people outside of the team think or expect of us.
“The players are a seriously competitive group and I know if we channel that properly the results will start to go our way. The key word this year is consistency.”
As for what to expect from the visitors this weekend, Alley was unsure after contrasting experiences in past seasons.
He said: “We haven’t played Swindon for a couple of seasons. Where they are the development team in the rink, news about their squad is pretty scarce and sometimes you literally don’t know which team is going to turn up.
“The last time we played them, one game they were only made up of local players, the next they turned up with a line of Okanagan Hockey Academy players and an English Premier League-winning import on defence.
“Their most consistent performers though have been the Taylor brothers (Shannon and Loris). Both have EPL experience and are usually good for a couple of points a game. But even they only played nine times each last year.”