Welcome Watkins!

ULTIMATE WINDOWS-sponsored Billingham Stars are delighted to unveil a brand new Star tonight as Jack Watkins joins from English Premier League outfit Milton Keynes Lightning.

Jack in Milton Keynes colours (image: Tony Sargent)

Jack in Milton Keynes colours (image: Tony Sargent)

Durham native Watkins is returning to the North East after seven seasons away from the area building an impressive hockey CV. Still only 23 years old, Watkins has featured in championship sides in both the Elite League (with Coventry Blaze) and the EPL (with Manchester Phoenix), as well as representing his country at Under-18 and Under-20 level. Describing himself as a ‘hard-working two-way forward’, Watkins began his hockey life as a junior with Newcastle Vipers before moving into the Whitley development programme – as such he has many friends on the Stars roster which should help him settle at the Forum.

Jack in GB U20s action

Jack in GB U20s action

Jack Watkins career highlights (click here for his stats):

  • 2009-2010: leaves Whitley to join Coventry Blaze, who win that season’s Elite League title
  • 2010-2011: moves to Telford and scores four EPL goals for the Tigers
  • 2011-2012: nets first Elite League goals for Hull Stingrays
  • 2013: scores for GB U20s whilst wearing the Assistant Captain’s shirt
  • 2013-2014: wins the EPL title with Manchester Phoenix
  • 2016: joins the Stars!
Let's hope we see plenty of this pose next season!

Let’s hope we see plenty of this pose next season!

Watkins – who will wear the number 93 shirt – says the decision to hook up with Billingham was ‘easy’ and is looking forward to playing alongside his friends:

“It’s time for me to move back to my home town of Durham after being away since the age of 16. It was a easy choice for me – I have a few people I like to call close friends playing for the Stars, people I grew up playing hockey with, so it will be nice to play alongside some of them once again. And it will be especially nice to do that in a Stars jersey – it’s going to be a good year! There’s a couple of teams I’m looking forward to playing, obviously the Stars v Warriors rivalry is one of them. Whitley was the first club I played a senior game for so that will be special for me.

I played a couple of games at NIHL level when I was at Manchester and the standard was a lot better than I expected, quite physical if I remember rightly, but I enjoy the physical side of the game. I’d like to think I will bring a little more offence to the Stars this year, I’ve not been a player who gets a lot of points so that’s something I’m looking to change about my game. A little more experience and some hard work! Obviously the ultimate aim has to be the League title – that’s something I think we should have our eyes on as a team this season.

I’d just like to say it’s a pleasure to be part of the Stars! Let’s have a good season and win some silverware!”

Jack's agent Mark Watson gets that all-important signature

Jack’s agent Mark Watson gets that all-important signature

Jack has already had the Billingham Stars TV treatment – you can see his interview by clicking here. Everyone at the Stars is extremely pleased to have Jack on board… but he is not the last of the ‘newbies’ – keep watching the site next week for more player news!

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