Tigers snap up Sam Oakford from Nottingham Panthers

Telford Tigers have signed Great Britain international defenceman Sam Oakford from Elite League play-off champions Nottingham Panthers.

The 26-year-old arrives in Telford with a string of honours under his belt, including an EIHL challenge cup winner’s medal from last season.

He will join a Tigers side that is currently second in the English Premier League, following Sunday’s 4-2 win over Basingstoke Bison.

Tigers head coach Tom Watkins revealed Oakford’s arrival in Telford at this stage of the season was unexpected – but welcome.

He said: “I picked up my phone a few weeks ago and saw a message from Sam, mentioning a move. It was completely out of the blue, but his circumstances away from the ice have led to this.

“He asked if I was interested and of course, nobody would say no to a player of that calibre. I wouldn’t be doing my job properly as coach of this club if I didn’t take him up on it.

“Sam is training to be a teacher and he made contact because of his schedule with school and college, which doesn’t really fit in with how they train in the Elite League.

“I know Sam from him playing with Great Britain, of course, and we spoke briefly during the summer, but he wanted to continue with Nottingham. I didn’t expect anything to happen at this stage of the season.”

Oakford, who learned his hockey with Bracknell Bees, made his Great Britain debut at February’s Olympic qualification tournament, following a successful stint with the national under-20s side.

  • See tomorrow’s Shropshire Star for more.

To buy Sam Oakford’s own and loan shirts for just £100, or to sponsor his equipment, email contact@telfordtigers.co.uk.

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