Lol Paul is backing his players to deliver this weekend as his Deeside Dragons side aims to secure the club’s first silverware in over 20 years.
League leaders Deeside need to win both games this weekend to secure the Laidler Conference title and will start the weekend with a visit from Hull Jets on Saturday before a trip to rivals Widnes Wild on Sunday, a game that could see Paul’s men lift the trophy.
And with all the turmoil behind the scenes in recent weeks following the departure of backers Red Hockey following a disagreement with Flintshire County Council, the club’s owners , Paul is keen to see his players keep up their end of the bargain and finish what they started.
“This weekend is massive for us and we can’t take our eye off the ball as we have come a long way and just want to make sure we get over the finish line,” said the Dragons head coach.
“We are so close to winning the first bit of silverware here for 20-odd years if we can get both wins this weekend.
“To win it at Widnes, our title rivals, on their ice would be a nice accomplishment, but we need to make sure we do our jobs and continue to play the kind of ice hockey that we have been doing all season, starting with the Hull Jets game.”
The Jets have had a less than impressive season thus far, although they have had a couple of close calls against some of the league’s top teams, including a 4-4 draw against Nottingham Lions in December.
The Dragons will be hoping for another bumper crowd after seeing 700-plus fans witness a great win against the Lions last weekend.
“Winning teams and success brings people through the door and it’s great that more and more people have come down to watch us this season,” said Paul.
“Hopefully we’ll have another good turnout on Saturday.”
With Deeside strongly tipped for honours in pre-season following the announcement of the link up with British ice hockey powerhouse Red Hockey, the Dragons duly delivered on the ice.
But last month’s shock departure of Wayne Scholes’s firm from Deeside following a breakdown in negotiations left the club in limbo.
But Paul says that he doesn’t concern himself with off-the-ice goings-on and that he and his team made a vow to finish the job.
“Nobody, apart from the top brass, will truly know what happened with Red Hockey and there were a lot of rumours flying around,” he said.
“But me and the players had a meeting at the time and we all agreed that we would finish what we started.
“We don’t want to get bogged down in all the politics, we just want to win the league for the fans and bring home some silverware.
“People thought we would fall apart but we haven’t. We have rode the storm and come out of it and we can’t wait for the weekend.”