Clarkson: Team-work key for Tigers success
Telford Tigers forward Doug Clarkson believes the tight-knit nature of this year’s squad can help steer them towards English Premier League success.
The 6’ 5” Canadian has quickly become a fans’ favourite at Telford, collecting 18 points on a high-scoring line that also includes Matty Davies and Michal Satek.
That trio will be a key part of the Tigers offensive threat in this weekend’s series of games against EPL title rivals Milton Keynes Lightning.
Clarkson, who arrived from Elite League side Dundee in the summer, praised the squad that coach Tom Watkins has put together.
He said: “You want to go to war with these guys beside you and help the team win. We are doing it for each other.
“Any time you are as close as we are in the room, it just makes it so much fun to come to the rink every day for training and for game times.
“You get on the bench and nobody is negative or anything like that, so you want to win for your team-mates and your coach. It definitely has a huge impact.
“It is easy to get along with the group of guys we have and Tom has done a great job of getting them all in here.
“We all do all sorts of things together like grab lunch or coffee before training and play golf when it’s warm enough.
“We also hang out at each others’ houses a lot, which makes coming to the rink and performing in front of fans so much easier.”
Clarkson’s physical strength has been a standout feature for Telford supporters this season, who have created a number of dedicated chants about him.
He added: “A few of the guys have chants that are sung by fans, which always makes for a good bit of fun in the room. We love it.
“It is great that fans are getting that excited and becoming so involved in games when we are doing so well.
“It’s entertaining for fans and they enjoy coming to the games, and bringing the family along. It also makes it a lot more fun for the players.”
This weekend’s encounters with Milton Keynes could see Telford open up a seven-point lead at the top of the EPL standings.
Clarkson has revelled in the atmosphere created by a string of 800-plus crowds at Telford Ice Rink, and is looking for more of the same on Sunday night.
“It feels like the last weeks have been getting bigger and bigger for us, and this weekend is definitely the biggest of the season for us,” he said.
“If we come in and play like we did at the start of the season, I think we’ll be successful. But Milton Keynes have got a very good side.
“Games have got away from us in the first period over the last few weeks and we’ve usually pulled them back in the second and third period.
“When you’re playing teams in this league you have to start well, be physical and forecheck well. It is a huge weekend for both teams.”
The Tigers travel to Milton Keynes on Saturday night (7pm), before the return encounter at Telford Ice Rink on Sunday (6om). For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.