Jason just canâ€™t wait for new season
Jason Parry will gauge his Tigers NIHL side after the first few weeks of the season â€“ but he expects them to continue learning throughout the eight-month long campaign.
The county men face a tough year in the Moralee Conference, following their remarkable promotion from Laidler standard in March.
The opening fortnight of league action sees them travel to champions Blackburn on September 6th, before the visit of Whitley just six days later.
Before that, they take on Welsh side Deeside Dragons in a pre-season series of challengeÂ games, on August 29thÂ and September 5th.
Parry, who will work alongside Tom Watkins as Assistant Coach, is looking forward to pitting his wits against teams from the higher level.
He said: â€œEvery game will be tough next season, and weâ€™ll take it game by game. Of course, playing the champions away first will be a big test.
â€œThen weâ€™ve got Whitley, who have made some goodÂ changesÂ with David Longstaff and Andre Payette coming in. After those games, weâ€™ll be able to gauge where we are.
â€œBut itâ€™s important to remember that the level we start at, wonâ€™t be the level we finish at. The guys will be learning all through the season and by the end, theyâ€™ll have developed a lot.
â€œOur average age is around 21, so the lads have still got a few years until they canÂ decide whether to play up a level in the EPL. Some of the guys are only 17, so theyâ€™ve got even longer.â€
That development pathway is a key part of the clubâ€™s plans for next season, with a number of players on two-way contracts with the EPL squad.
Parry added: â€œWe have got some very good guys on two-way contracts this year, with the likes of Macaulay Heywood, James Smith, Denis Bell, Adam Taylor, Callum Bowley and Brad Betteridge.
â€œThere is also a large group of younger lads, who had a taste of playing and training with the EPL squad last season. They will be pushing for one of those two-way deals as well.
â€œThe guys are hungry and keen to learn, so weâ€™ll continue to do that. Itâ€™s like any learning environment at that age, such as GCSE, A-Levels or a degree, when youâ€™re looking to the future.â€
There have, of course, been a number of changes to The Tigers NIHL line-upÂ this summer, with a string of new signings bulking out Parryâ€™s ranks.
Alongside the existingÂ players, they will form part of a larger Tigers squad, on standby for a call-up to the senior EPL side.
â€œWhen guys are given the chance to play for Tomâ€™s senior team, that will be a good thing for the whole squad,â€ he said.
â€œIt means other players will have the chance to step into their shoes with the NIHL side. The fact that weâ€™ve got a large squad means we’ll play three-line hockey, even with a couple of lads away.â€