Heywood happy to eye future starring role with Tigers NIHL

Macaulay Heywood is determined to put last season’s truncated campaign behind him, after becoming The Tigers’ latest ‘Prospect Player’.

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 “like a new signing”, wants to make up for that disappointment with The Tigers NIHL in the Moralee Conference.

And he’ll start the new campaign with an eye on the leading scorer’s spot, alongside fellow Tigers forward, James Smith.

He said: “Last season wasn’t great for me, so I can’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.

“I want to be back amongst the goals and along with James Smith, I’m confident we’ll be able to make a big difference. I was gutted to miss so much of last season, so I’ll be going all out to make up for that.”

Heywood, along with Smith, will also join the club’s English Premier League set-up for training sessions and some games, as part of their role as Prospect Players.

“It will be a great experience, if we go on to train with the EPL guys next season,” Heywood added.

“Tom 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.”

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: “Being around the guys last season made such a big difference and I was delighted to make a contribution to the promotion effort.

“It 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.”

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 – he is a great impact player and game changer.

“Ice hockey is important, but last year’s news grounded all of us – Macaulay is back with a bang.

“To be honest I really couldn’t see this guy playing anywhere else – so in short, I’d rather be playing with him on the roster than against him!”

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