ENL Feature – ENL North looking stronger than ever

DURHAM, UK – The ENL North season may only be a few weeks old however this current campaign looks like it could be one of the most exciting seasons in a long time as there a number of sides in both divisions who look like they will be fighting it out for honours at the top of the standings come the business end of the season.
In North Division 1 Billingham, Blackburn, Solway and Whitley have all started the season positively while newcomers Sutton Sting also look a strong outfit though they have only played the 1 match at this moment in time. It also has to be remembered that last season’s 4th place team and play off qualifiers the Telford Titans have not took to the ice yet (as their rink is being redeveloped) illustrating   just how many strong teams there are now in this league.
Current League and Play Off Champions the Billingham Stars went out and improved their roster over the close season with the signings of forward duo Stephen Wallace and Michael Bowman. Both players have spent the majority of their careers playing at a higher level of hockey (mainly in the EPL) and this offensive pair should prove to be great pick up for the defending champs.
It is not only the Stars who have been busy in the transfer market though as Whitley have picked up Alex Lawson and Simon Hehir from their local rivals Billingham as well as snapping up netminder Liam McAllister from Wightlink Raiders in the ENL South 1. Warriors will be keen to take the title back from their neighbours after losing out last term.
Solway were linked with a host of top players over the summer and Sharks look to have built an extremely strong roster this term as they have added players such as with Elite League experience such as Craig Mitchell and John Connolly to a roster which already included top ENL marksmen Adam Reynolds and Nathan Salem.
In the 2nd Division Deeside Dragons have made some shrewd signings and they have started the term positively picking up 3 wins out of their opening 4 fixtures however it is the Nottingham Lions who have really caught the eye as Lions coach Matt Bradbury as made a host of top quality signings.
Current Nottingham Panthers duo Josh Ward and Marc Levers have both signed on 2 way deals with Lions while former Panthers and GB international Simon Hunt has also come out of retirement which will ensure the side from the lace city have plenty of fire power to call upon. Nottingham are obviously keen to only spend 1 season out of the top flight as they have also signed an import American playmaker Luke Branin who has already been picking up the point for his new side (1+3 in his last outing).
Another side who will be battling it out from promotion from ENL Division 2 will be the Solihull Barons who were relegated at the end of last term. Barons struggled to adapt to Division 1 hockey during the first half of last term however they showed great improvement towards the end of the term and Solihull should have enough quality to be up there challenging for honours with the Dragons and Lions.
Contact the author – chris.mackenzie@prohockeynews.com  

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