Warriors shocked as Leach resigns

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LESS than a week after leading the Whitley Warriors to the double, coach Simon Leach has stood down from his role.

The successful coach recently led the Warriors to the English National League and play-off double for a second consecutive season.

But he has decided now is the time to move on.

“It’s been on my mind for a little while,” he said.

“But I wanted to see what would be happening with the league structure for next season, and what direction it was going in, before making my decision.

“From a personal point of view, I feel I have taken the club as far as I can within the current structure, and after three very successful years feel it is the right time to step down.”

During his spell in charge, Whitley have been at the forefront of the ENL North scene and also a leading light in the Northern League.

But by stepping down now, Leach feels there is plenty of time for the new coach to put his plans into operation for the next campaign.

“Hopefully by going now, whoever takes over will have all summer to assemble his side and I hopefully leave him with the nucleus of a good team,” he added.

“I think we have brought some very good players through the ranks and into the club during my time, which is something I have been very proud of.

“But it’s been three solid years of hard work, both on and off the ice, putting together the squad and making sure we have the backing of some excellent sponsors as well; without who we could not have achieved what we have.

“I would like to thank them for their support and also the players, management and supporters of the Warriors.

“We have been through so much together and it certainly would not have been possible with such a dedicated bunch of people that have all contributed to making the Warriors the most successful ice hockey team in the north east in recent years.”

n Whitley Tomahawks became the second side at the club to claim a national title this season when they won the English Under-16 crown with a 2-1 win over Bradford in their play-off final at Ice Sheffield on Sunday night.

The previous day the Whitley Under-16 squad had beaten Cardiff in the semi-final, the game going to sudden-death overtime.