WHITLEY Warriors coach Garry Dowd has added former Billingham Stars defender Simon Hehir to his squad for next season.
And he has also confirmed that forwards DJ Good, Jordan Barnes, Mark Good and Callum Pattison will be staying at Hillheads for another season while adding young netminder Joe Harley to the squad.
“Joe has just come out of our under-18 squad and showed great potential when we were able to ice him last season,” said Dowd.
“He will now work with No.1 keeper Ritchie Lawson over the coming season and I am confident he has all the tools to make a big impression over time.
“As for Simon, I’ve played with him a lot of years in Billingham and know what a great player he is to have on the ice and in the dressing room.
“Although he has played as a forward for a lot of his career, Simon has moved onto the blue line to great effect in recent seasons because he reads the game so well; and comes up with some big goals when needed.
“I’m delighted he has finally made it to Hillheads 12 months after I first asked him.”
Meanwhile, the addition of the Good brothers, Barnes and Pattison brings to nine the total number of forwards Dowd has signed for next season, and the coach believes all have a vital role to play.
“Mark (Good) will be the veteran of the team next season and we know exactly what we are getting with him,” he said.
“He is a player I am comfortable putting on any line and know he will do a job for us, a role that is crucial to the success of the side on any given night.
“DJ is a fans favourite and has exceptional stick-handling skills that make it very difficult for the opposition to take the puck away from him.
“He was also one of our top points scorers in the last campaign and will once again be an integral part of our plans for the coming season.”
Barnes is a young player Dowd is looking to make further improvements over the next 12 months.
He said: “I’m happy to have him back and will be looking for him to maintain his rate of improvement.
“Jordan has an eye for goal and I will be looking for him to chip in with even more next season as he continues to show the good qualities I know he has.”
Pattison joined the Warriors last summer and showed what promise he has, but Dowd knows the big, aggressive forward must learn lessons from that first campaign.
The coach said: “I have talked to him over the summer and Callum knows how hard he has to work on his temperament.
“He’s a difficult player to stop when he gets going and defenders do back off him, but we have to channel all that aggression in the right direction to get the best out of Callum, but it’s fair to say, he is still a work in progress.”
However, one player who will not be part of the Hillheads set-up next season is Shaun Kippin after he moved away from the area.
“I’m obviously disappointed he won’t be with us,” added Dowd.
“Family and work commitments have seen him move to the north west and sign for Deeside Dragons.
“There will always be a shirt for Shaun in the Whitley locker room and we would like to wish him all the best at his new club; there is no doubt Deeside are certainly getting a talented player.”