Mike makes Moralee start for Tigers NIHL
Tigers NIHL General Manager Mike Washburn wants his side to become a challenger for honours during next seasonâ€™s Moralee Conference campaign.
The county men were promoted from the Laidler Conference earlier this year, following a remarkable second-placed finish in their first season.
That was followed by a nail-biting play-off final defeat to runaway league champions Solihull Barons, as Telford ended the year on a high.
They will face a tougher set of opponents next season, but Washburn will place his faith in much of the squad that finished as runners-up.
He said: â€œPeople said at the start of last season that we wouldnâ€™t do very well and we proved them wrong. I want us to do that again.
â€œOf course, it will be much more difficult to win as regularly as we did last year, but weâ€™ll be there, competing. I would like to think we can push the top teams all the way.
â€œI am a realist, of course, so we need to strengthen this summer and makeÂ the most of the talent we already have. We are standing by our pledge to develop and use the players from last season.
â€œThis team is part of a bigger set-up that also includes the clubâ€™s EPL side, so giving guys the opportunity to take advantage of that and progressÂ is a major part of our overall strategy.â€
The Tigers NIHL will face teams such as Whitley Warriors next season, who have signed experienced duo David Longstaff and Andre Payette.
â€œWe must remember that this is a development league and we will be treating it as such,â€ Washburn added.
â€œThat means giving the youngsters a chance to impress and progress. The guys who played for us last season did that and we have to build on their success. They are a big part of the squad.â€
Other opponents include champions Blackburn Hawks and high-flying Billingham Stars, alongside Scottish outfit, Solway Sharks.
Washburn said: â€œThis summer has been tremendously exciting, in terms of signing players and preparing for the new season.
â€œThe guys are really looking forward to getting back on the ice and doing what they do best. Theyâ€™re not scared of anyone and that is a great way to start the season.
â€œNobody is going to back away from a challenge, a hit, or even a dust up. Weâ€™re aiming to be a team that nobody else wants to play.â€