Longstaff continues to build Warriors roster

Whitley Warriors' Harry Harley. Picture by Colin Edwards
Whitley Warriors' Harry Harley. Picture by Colin Edwards

Whitley Warriors player-coach David Longstaff is continuing to build his side’s roster for the 2015-16 season.

Scott Cooper, Harry Harley and Mark Turnbull are the latest to agree to ice for Warriors next term.

All three were part of the set up last season under previous head coach Simon Leach.

Warriors now have ten players confirmed, and given the new season is still around three months away, they look set to go into the 2015-16 campaign as well prepared as any side in the NIHL North.

Cooper linked up with Warriors in the summer of 2014 and went on to establish himself a key member of the squad during the last campaign.

He demonstrated his commitment to the cause on a number of occasions when he took to the ice carrying injuries in the later part of the campaign when Whitley were short of defencemen.

Cooper said: “I’m really excited for the new season with all the changes that have taken place, and I’m looking forward to working with Lobby (David Longstaff) on a day-to-day basis.

“Ambitions for the team first of all will be to make the play-offs and then we can go from there.

“On a personal note, I would like to really establish myself as a d-man now I have a full season in the position under my belt.”

Harley first iced for Warriors back in the 2011-12 season, and the 20-year-old has gone on to appear in every campaign since.

His best season statistically was in 2012-13 when he was able to contribute 22 points

Harley’s versatility gives Warriors’ coaching staff tactical flexibility as the youngster is equally at home in attack or defence.

On signing for next season, he said: “When I heard that Lobby was going to be the coach I knew straight away that I wanted to sign back.

“I’ve seen Lobby play and he can bring a lot of hockey knowledge to the Warriors. I am looking forward to playing under him next year.

“We will definitely be a strong force in the league next year and we will be challenging for silverware.”

Young netminder Turnbull first appeared for Whitley at senior level back in the 2013-14 season when he appeared in three match-ups, however, last season saw him sharing goaltending duties with Richie Lawson for the majority of the campaign.

Turnbull impressed during the 14 appearances he made for Warriors last year as his save percentage was around the 90 per cent mark, while his goals against per game average of around four goals per match was also favourable.

“Over the past two seasons I have really enjoyed my hockey,” he said.

“There is always a great atmosphere within the team and I think the disappointment of playing in the relegation play-offs has only made us stronger as a whole, and I definitely believe we will be competing for the top spot this season.

“Lobby has made some great signings already and I can’t wait to get back on the ice and to start the new season.”

Warriors will announce further signings next week as coach Longstaff continues to build for his first campaign in charge of the team in NIHL North Division 1.