ENL North News – Mitchell brothers linked with move to Solway, Culley could come out of retirement

D URHAM, UK – There has been much speculation during the past week over possible new signings for the top sides in ENL North Division 1. League Newcomers the Solway Sharks have been central to the majority of possible dealings as it has been rumoured that Craig and Lee Mitchell who have both played regularly at Elite level during the past few campaigns could be moving to Dumfries. Former Newcastle Vipers and Whitley Warriors forward Karl Culley has also been linked to the Scottish club.
If Solway were able to secure the services of Craig and Lee Mitchell it would be a tremendous double signing for the Sharks. Solway ran away with the Division 2 title last season and they already have plenty of quality on their roster (with the likes of Adam Reynolds and Nathan Salem) so the acquisition of 2 players with an abundance of experience at a higher level would make Solway one of the top teams in Division 1.
Last season Lee split his time between the Dundee Stars and the Braehead Clan in the Elite League in total he was able to pick 40 (8+32) points which is a commendable tally for a British forward playing in an import dominated division. Lee spent the previous 6 campaigns icing for the Hull Stingrays also in the Elite League so the 25 year old clearly has enough expertise to be one of the top players in the ENL set up if he opted to move to Solway this summer.
Lee’s young brother Craig who is 21 has also played top flight hockey with the Hull Stingrays and he is generally regarding a promising young blue liner who has been learning his way at Elite level. If Craig were to opt to move to a club in the ENL set up he would be guaranteed a greater amount of ice time in all situations which would no doubt further aid his overall development.
It is worth noting that dropping down into a lower grade of hockey can prove to be a good long term move for an up and coming British player as Bari Mckenzie’s recent career illustrates. Mckenzie was getting few opportunities at Elite League level so he decided to link up with Solway Sharks a few years back. Bari’s game improved as his ice time dramatically increased which led to him becoming one of the top marksmen in the Scottish National and Northern League’s. His prolific scoring record led to a move to Edinburgh to link up with the Elite League Capitals where he enjoyed great success on their principal scoring line before earning a move to the Cardiff Devils following the end of the 2011/12 season.
There has also been rumours that former Whitley Bay winger Karl Culley could be coming out of retirement. If Culley were to lace the skates up once more his former club would be amongst the favourites to sign him as he attended many of the Warriors game last season. However Solway are known to admire the player and given Culley could reform his lethal partnership with Adam Reynolds if he moved north of the border a move to the Sharks cannot be ruled out just yet
Contact the author – chris.mackenzie@prohockeynews.com

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