WHITLEY Warriors coach has named his first six signings of the summer.
Former Newcastle Vipers trio of Dean Holland, Jamie Tinsley and Ritchie Lawson have agreed to another year at Hillheads, as have Nathan Ryder and Christian Johnson while the club has also signed Alex Lawson from league champions Billingham Stars.
“Ritchie is a quality netminder,” Dowd said. “He showed that last season with some outstanding saves, but now that he has those games under his belt and will have a full pre-season with the club, I know he is looking to be even better come September.
“And we are pleased he will be joined by his younger brother Alex. He is primarily a forward, but can operate at the back and we will be looking to utilise that ability in some games.
“Still only a teenager, Alex has a good head on his shoulders, is not scared to get stuck in when it matters and should fit into the Warriors squad very nicely.”
The coach is also delighted to have Jamie Tinsley, who scooped three awards at the club’s end of season presentation night, back on the Whitley roster for the 2012-13 campaign.
“He brings no negatives to the dressing room or onto the ice,” said Dowd. “Jamie is a powerful forward with some great puck handling skills and a fantastic attitude; and will once again be huge asset to us in our quest for honours.”
Former Vipers team-mate Dean Holland is also back for another season and the coach is equally delighted to see him available again: “Dean came to Hillheads part way through last season and contributed more than a goal a game, which is a very good average for the National League,” continued Dowd.
“He too brings Elite League pedigree to the Warriors squad from his time at Newcastle and Dundee and will be a very vital part of our effort to bring silverware back to Whitley over the coming months.”
Christian Johnson is a young player making his way in the game, but the coach believes the 18-year-old can make an impact.
“He is a young lad who leaves nothing on the bench every time he steps on the ice,” he said, “and improved greatly as last season progressed.
“He is a good player in the making and I can only see him going from strength to strength as his career moves forward.”
Nathan Ryder is the first defender named by Dowd and after being converted from a forward last season, the coach had no hesitation in bringing the versatile player back to Hillheads.
“He filled in for us when we were short on defence in a couple of games at last year and Nathan did such a good job, he became an integral part of the Whitley blue line for the remainder of the campaign.
“I see his future on the Warriors defence now and he is another player I believe can only get better.”
Dowd expects to be able to name more of last season’s squad very soon and is also in talks to bring further fresh faces to the team as they look to challenge the likes of champions Billingham Stars and newly promoted Solway Sharks for the honours over the next few months.