Lee Valley Lions coach Alley pleased to get Guildford early in the season
- Credit: Archant
Lee Valley Lions head coach George Alley is thankful that his side are facing newly-formed Guildford Phoenix early on in the 2017/18 NIHL South Two season, writes Jacob Ranson.
The green and blue outfit got their season off to a start with defeats to Haringey Huskies and Bracknell Hornets and will be looking to pick up their first victory of the season at the Lee Valley Ice Centre on Saturday (5.30pm face-off).
“I think Guildford are going to be a team that grows as a great deal as the season goes on,” Alley said.
“Getting them at Lee Valley early in the season helps us but we’re going to need to be at our best from the get-go.”
The former Lions and London Raiders goalie heaped praise of the league’s new boys and is excited to see how their young side develops.
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“They’re an exciting young side and they’ve built a team full of raw talent,” he added.
“Give them a few years and I think they’ll be very strong once they find their feet.
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“They have a few players who I’m familiar with and I’m looking forward to seeing where Milos (Melicharek) and Andy Hemmings take them.”
The 29-year-old coach is under no illusions as to how strong they will be and has already pin-pointed their danger men and strengths.
“If they’re set up in Hemmings’ image they’ll be a high-energy team,” he said.
“They’re very young but have a lot of players at their disposal.
“I know the Wootton brothers (Bailey and Haydn) from their time at Lee Valley juniors and London Raiders.
“Nick Minhinnick and Josh Abbot are familiar faces in our league, but Andy Hemmings and Scott Greenfield will be their main threats this season.”
The east London club will also come up against former player Henry Aiken who left Lions to join the Surrey-based outfit this summer and Alley admits he was dissappointed to lose him.
“I was gutted to lose Henry, as were a lot of the boys, because he was very much part of the fabric in the dressing room,” he said.
“I think it’ll be weird for the players but I’ve played against enough former team-mates over the years that it won’t matter once the puck drops.”