Heywood happy to eye future starring role with Tigers NIHL
Macaulay Heywood is determined to put last seasonâ€™s truncated campaign behind him, after becoming The Tigersâ€™ latest â€˜Prospect Playerâ€™.
The 18-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year and missed much of the season while he underwent a course of treatment.
But Heywood, who was described by Head Coach Tom Watkins as â€œlike a new signingâ€, wants to make up for that disappointment with The Tigers NIHL in the Moralee Conference.
And heâ€™ll start the new campaign with an eye on the leading scorerâ€™s spot, alongside fellow Tigers forward, James Smith.
He said: â€œLast season wasnâ€™t great for me, so I canâ€™t wait to get back to full training and start playing games. It is all about putting that experience behind me and making the most of the next eight months.
â€œI want to be back amongst the goals and along with James Smith, Iâ€™m confident weâ€™ll be able to make a big difference. I was gutted to miss so much of last season, so Iâ€™ll be going all out to make up for that.â€
Heywood, along with Smith, will also join the clubâ€™s English Premier League set-up for training sessions and some games, as part of their role as Prospect Players.
â€œIt will be a great experience, if we go on to train with the EPL guys next season,â€ Heywood added.
â€œTom has shown his faith in both myself and James on a number of occasions, and I want to repay that. It will be a big step up, but I am very keen to make a good impression.â€
The Telford-born forward will face a higher standard of opponent in the Moralee Conference, after he amassed 21 points in just nine games last season.
That record will be under pressure amongst the likes of Whitley, Solway and Blackburn, but Heywood is intent on proving himself at the top NIHL level.
He said: â€œBeing around the guys last season made such a big difference and I was delighted to make a contribution to the promotion effort.
â€œIt was tough watching them in games, but I am really excited about playing in the Moralee Conference. There are a lot of very good teams in that league, so it will be an excellent challenge.â€
Tigers NIHL General Manager, Mike Washburn, is looking forward to seeing Heywood back on the ice next season.
He said: “I’ve known Macaulay all his junior and semi pro career â€“ he is a great impact player and game changer.
â€œIce hockey is important, but last yearâ€™s news grounded all of us – Macaulay is back with a bang.
â€œTo be honest I really couldnâ€™t see this guy playing anywhere else – so in short, Iâ€™d rather be playing with him on the roster than against him!”