BLACKBURN, UK – Deeside Dragons have swooped to sign Shaun Kippin from Whitley Warriors. Dragons beat off stiff competition from Blackburn Hawks to seal the deal and further boost their promotion hopes. Kippin notched 39 pointsfrom 30 games last season and Dragons’ boss Ian Foster believes his new man will make a big impact. “We’re delighted to welcome Shaun to Deeside,” said Foster. “He’s another guy we were desperate to sign in our bid to build a squad we think can compete with the top NIHL teams.” Dragons have also announced Ex-Flintshire Freeze enforcer Dave Costelloe has returned to Deeside after a two year absence, while Kenny Williams adds further depth to the forward lines. Blackburn have confirmed forwards Sami Narkia and Jordan Bannon won’t be returning for 2012/13. Coach Jared Owen said Narkia’s deal with the club was only for one year, while Bannon is unable to play a full season due to work committments. Following recent speculation about the future of team boss Jim Pennycook, the Hawks have scheduled a meeting next week with the Scot. The club claim Pennycook is fully committed to his role, while Owen said Blackburn Arena remain fully behind him and assistant Danny Brittle. Owen has added to his roster, with GB under-18 international Myles Dacres arriving from Bradford Bulldogs, while Dave Meikle and Matt Viney return for another season. Dacres makes the switch across the Pennines after a prolific year with the Bulldogs, scoring 38 goals with the junior team and 17 in ENL2. Solway defenseman Aaron Greger has agreed another season with the Sharks, while Billinghams Stars have confirmed a quintet of returnees from their NIHL1 double winning team, with Dave Thomas, Ben Davison, Jamie Pattison, Anthony Price and Mark Watson all agreeing another year on Teesside. Director of Hockey Terry Ward was delighted at the announcement, in particular the return of Thomas, “We thought Tommo`s work would take him out of the area and it looked like he may not have been available for next year, so we’re delighted Dave will be playing next season,” said Ward. “He brings a lot of experience to our defence and plays the puck or the man equally as well. A lot of forwards have found out to their cost that Tommo doesn’t hold back.” Whitley have secured DJ Good and Callum Pattison for another year with the club, while Simon Hehir has moved from rivals Billingham. Coach Garry Dowd was pleased with the additions saying, “DJ’s a fans’ favourite and has exceptional stick-handling skills which make it very difficult for the opposition to take the puck away from him. He was one of our top points scorers in the last campaign and will be an integral part of our plans for the coming season. I wanted Simon twelve months ago and I’m delighted he’s finally agreed to come to Hillheads. Callum’s a very difficult player to stop when he gets going and defenders do back off him, but we’ll have to make sure he channels his aggressive style in the right direction.”
Netminder Josh Nicholls is believed to be on his way back to Coventry Blaze. Nicholls left Telford Tigers at the end of last season and is expected to return to the Sky Dome Arena. Blaze are also understood to be interested in signing defender Dale White from Solihull Barons. Adam Andrews was thought to have been on his way out of Solihull, with a number of teams interested in signing the big defenseman, but work issues mean a return to Hobs Moat Road could be on the cards.
Sheffield Spartans forward Shaun Wild has signed for Sheffield Steeldogs. Wild hit 14 goals & 17 assists last year and is the latest product of the Sheffield Junior Academy to make the step up to the EPL. Scott Morris has moved in the opposite direction, while netminder Andy Bagshaw has agreed to return for a fifth season with the club. Sheffield Senators trio Danny Mawer, Bob Browne and Dan Taylor have all been promoted to the Spartans’ roster, while Ryan Handisides has left and is expected to move south.
Former Nottingham Panthers star Simon Hunt has returned to the game after a 12-year absence to join Nottingham Lions. The gritty forward will be expected to add some much needed toughness to the Lions roster as they attempt to bounce back into Division One at the first attempt. Michael Rose is also back for a second year, but netminder Richard Griffiths has been released.
Contact the author at: Michael.Black@prohockeynews.com