Season Review

All of a sudden it’s the end of the season and here we are again…We started out with great hopes and expectations but it’s safe to say we were more than disappointed by not managing to secure a playoff spot. In every season there are changes and this season has been the same for us. Chris Wilcox picking up the difficult challenge of player coach and then a job promotion saw him leave us altogether at the beginning of 2013, a great loss to the Spartans.

Ollie Barron has been the stalwart of the team again, motivating as a captain as well as coach and committee member! Without Ollie this season we wouldn’t have the sponsors, team wear or shirts. We are very grateful to him for that and I think he has made a fantastic captain, a true role model for the current Spartans but also the younger lads coming through from the U18s. I know it hasn’t been easy for him, but a huge thank you is deserved from every one of us.

Watching some of our games this season has been very difficult for me as we all know exactly what these lads are capable of, so to see us lose so many games has been very frustrating. There have been many games where the puck just hasn’t gone our way but other games where we appeared to lose our confidence in our own ability and the opposing teams have capitalised on that, taking the victory. However there have been many positives for us to take forward as a club with plenty of reason to be more than optimistic next season. We have developed a sound base to work from & develop further to make us stronger individually & as a team. The club aren’t afraid to make changes to bring about success & with an honest & self- annalistic view & approach these decisions have been taken to address any shortcomings that have surfaced during the season. We approached things differently last season & were mentally & physically stronger but we needed a full time coach which we now have in Martin White who will bring stability to the team & with a few fine tweaks put out a team more than capable of challenging the top four next season.

Martin White offered his support towards the end of the season, which was more than welcomed. Martin has been the coach of the Spartans before; knows all the players and understands our game. He also knows all the opponents we play so have the ability to read what they are going to do before they do it! We are in the great position to know that Martin will be coaching next year full time and I don’t think anyone on the team will be disappointed with that decision. Martin brings a wealth of coaching experience but also knows when humour is required in the dressing room!

Andre Payette has also volunteered his services for training over the last few months. Again, whilst we were without a coach it gave us some stability in preparation for games at the weekends. Andre’s knowledge of the game is huge and it was good to see the lads more confident in their game after a training session with Andre. We would like to say thank you for his time in what is a full agenda for him with the Steeldogs already.

A mention has to go to Malcolm Woolhouse, who has been ill over the latter part of the season. Without Malcolm and Encie’s generosity as our main sponsor we would not have been able to pay for some of the things we have this season. We wish you a huge Spartan get well soon. It has meant though that Jon has not played for the last few games as his family commitments have seen him hanging his boots up; let’s hope it’s a temporary thing and he will be back next season.

Many thanks to all our other sponsors: Prime Mover, Puck Stop, Fancie, The Belfry, Cressida, John Henry Haulage, Tyzack Machine Knives, ESS, Watchovia & Ice & Slice.

Thanks have to go as normal to all the off- ice officials and volunteers who make our games possible. Particular thanks have to go to Gill and Steve Pearson for their continued support with the game sheet and clock. Steve keeps threatening to quit, but we all know he would be lost with his beloved Spartans games…. To Phil for the fantastic programmes we get every home game, his commitment to our away games and continued support and Debra for her organisation of off- ice officials, door entry, which is now like a well-oiled machine, the raffle, and anything I rope her in for on the day.

So, next season, what can we expect? I feel it will be a fruitful season, with hopefully the core of lads back again, there will be some new faces and probably we will lose some players too, but I know with commitment , structure and direction the Spartans can face and beat anyone.

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