Paisley Pirates have begun the task of building a side capable of challenging for honours in the forthcoming ice hockey season, by re-signing a number of players who represented the club last year, bringing back a couple of players known to the club’s fans, and capturing a star young player from a neighbouring side.
Returning from last year’s squad, and already having put pen to paper to sign up for the new campaign, are Colin McMillan, Tom Johnston, Rab Henderson, Calum Blair, Chris & Ian Turley, Liam Riddell, Martyn Guy, Mark Hassan, Warren Crawford, Scott Cowan, netminder Graham Meechan, and Stuart Miller. Player/coach Ian Turley has also swooped to bring back former club favourites in the shape of Richard Thorp and Chris Underwood, while he has swooped to sign promising newcomer Haydn Bain, formerly with North Ayrshire Wild, who has made the short trip from the West coast to put pen to paper for the Pirates.
“I’m very pleased with the squad we’ve assembled so far,” commented Turley just prior to jetting off to Spain for a short pre-season break. “We played very well with a much reduced squad towards the end of last season, and I was very keen to retain the nucleus of that side for the new campaign.”
“I’ve still got a few players in mind who haven’t signed yet, but supporters don’t need to panic just now, there are various reasons why they haven’t registered with us at this juncture, and I’m hoping to add a number of familiar faces to the squad, and maybe another new face, before we open for business in the Autumn Cup at Kilmarnock on 5 September at 7.00pm. It’s not too far away now. We’ve got guys back who missed large chunks of the season through injury, some young blood in the team which is very important to the club’s long term development, and I believe we’ve added some firepower to the team as well as developing a strength in depth, something which, as we found out last season, is absolutely critical if we want to be challenging for honours, which is where we need to be.”
“I know there will be fans who will expect certain players to walk back into the team, but that won’t be happening. We showed last season at various times that we were able to cope, and even rise to the occasion when short handed, so while there are a number of players I would like to see back in a Pirates’ jersey for the new season, they’ll still have to show me that they’ve got the ability, commitment, and desire to play for that jersey all the time, before they’ll be invited to wear one of them! There aren’t too many spots still to be filled, and possibly we have more potential signings than there are vacancies, so it’s down to them to prove to me they merit inclusion.”