Whitley Warriors are in the process of completing their preparations for the weekend’s NIHL North Division 1 Championship Play-Offs.
The semi-finals and final take place at Ice Sheffield in South Yorkshire, with Warriors taking on the Solihull Barons in the final game of an action packed Saturday that sees the four top teams from division one and division two battle for the top spots in their respective leagues.
Warriors’ versatile alternate captain Jordan Barnes, who has been at the club for a number of years, believes they are well prepared for the action.
He said: “I think the team is more than ready for the play-offs. We have been working really hard the last few weeks in training, our fitness is one of our strengths, we keep going all night long when some other teams can’t.
“We also have a really strong squad as everyone is fit to play.
“I personally feel ready to play a physical weekend with a lot of energy because the Barons are a similar type of team to us in that aspect as they also play physically and we are going to take it to then straight from the opening face-off.”
Whitley have youngster Callum Queenan back in the line-up after injury, which is welcomed by Barnes.
“Having young Queenan back is going to be a massive boost for the lads as we know he can find the back of the net and we will be hoping he can be as effective as he has been all year long,” he said.
“This season has been a great year for the club and also having the A (alternate captain role) has been massive for me, it is great to be thought of as a leader and I just like getting the lads up in the room before we play and I will always stick up for my team-mates out on the ice too.”
Whitley’s number 17 also praised the club’s coaching staff.
“The great thing about Dave [Holland] and Lobby [David Longstaff] is they just tell you how it is, so players know where they stand and which areas they need to improve on to improve,” he said.
“Hopefully we can bring the cup back to Whitley because we have all worked so hard all year and this would be the icing on the cake for us all.”
Warriors’ semi final is on Saturday, April 9, at 7.30pm, against the Solihull Barons with the winner set to take on either Blackburn Hawks or Solway Sharks the following day in the NIHL North showpiece of the season, the Division 1 Play-Off final.
Whitley fans are also reminded that the club’s presentation evening takes place on Saturday, April 16, at 7.30pm, at Rockcliff Rugby Club in Whitley Bay.
There will be buffet, disco as well as the players’ award presentation, while fans who have sponsored a game worn shirt will be able to collect their jersey from the player they have sponsored.