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Lee Valley Lions coach 'looking forward' to new challenges

PUBLISHED: 15:30 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:56 01 June 2017

George Alley, seen in action for London Raiders, was back in goal for Lee Valley Lions in their win over Slough Jets (pic John Scott)

George Alley, seen in action for London Raiders, was back in goal for Lee Valley Lions in their win over Slough Jets (pic John Scott)

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Coach reflects on league format

Lee Valley Lions head coach George Alley is ‘looking forward’ to playing stronger teams and the new 14-team league format.

The former goalie is hoping his side can thrive from facing new competition from new league entries and former National Ice Hockey League South One teams.

Alley said: “Personally I’m looking forward to going up against stronger teams - whether you’re a player or a coach, secretly we all think we can make the step up.”

The 14-team league will consist of Basingstoke Buffalo, Bristol Pitbulls, Bracknell Hornets, Cardiff Fire, Chelmsford Chieftains, Guildford Phoenix, Haringey Huskies, Invicta Mustangs, Oxford City Stars, Peterborough Islanders, Slough Jets, Solent Devils and Swindon Wildcats.

“Tougher games should be embraced and I think we will benefit from it in the long run, even if we have a tough time of it this year,” he admitted.

“Business wise I think all of the clubs could learn from how teams previously in the league above run their game night experience, how they promote their clubs and bring in new fans, and how not to post on Facebook and Twitter.

“With regard to brand new teams, I’m really looking forward to taking the Lions to Guildford and Cardiff.

“Most people will probably agree that a Guildford development side has been a long time coming, and Cardiff also have a history of bringing very good players through their ranks.”

The 29-year-old although looking forward to challenge, does have concerns about how the clubs dropping down from the National Ice Hockey League South One will change the way things run.

“I think some teams may have an issue with commitment, when pay-to-play players are facing the prospect of a 100 plus mile round trip on a Sunday evening, to potentially get beaten by a side who are paying expenses then you may see teams struggle for numbers in the latter stages of the season, if results don’t go their way,” Alley explained.

Alley also spoke on the league scrapping the East and West conferences they had last season.

“It’s well overdue - the variety of opponents should keep players interested, and there are some very well drilled teams in the West that I want to learn from.”

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