Deeside Dragons head coach Lol Paul believes the club is enetering the most exciting phase in its history.
It has been a summer of change at the Dragons following the takeover of the club by Red Hockey, owned by multi-millionaire businessman Wayne Scholes, with a number of high profile recruits arriving at Deeside Ice Rink.
And with a formidable roster assembled, and possible further additions to come, Paul believes Deeside fans will be in for a treat this season, with a challenge for title honours in the Laidler Conference at the top of Paul’s agenda.
“I’ve been around ice hockey for a long time and was a part of the treble-winning Deeside team of 1992 and I can tell you now that there has never been such an exciting time for the club,” said Paul, who took over the mantle of head coach from Steve Fellows in July.
“It is without a doubt the most exciting period in the club’s history and I’m honoured to be given the role of head coach and be the one to try and bring some success here.
“We’ve got the backing of new owners and we’ve been able to bring in quality players who I believe will help us challenge at the right end of the league. That is most certainly the aim.”
Paul has had a busy summer of recruitment and pulled off a number of eye catching signings, including Slovakian import Adrian Palak and prolific attacker Filip Supa from Widnes Wild.
He has also retained the core from last season’s squad while adding additional quality in the form of ex-Telford Tigers man Owen Bennett and former Widnes defenceman Matt Wainwright.
But Paul acknowledges the importance of developing the Dragons’ youngsters and has pledged to give youth a chance during the season.
He said: “The young players are our future and I have made a commitment to our youth coach Mike Clancy to continue our good work on that front and blood some of the younger players throughout the season.”
With the Dragons now viewed as legitimate challengers for the Laidler Conference title this season, Paul is hoping it can be a season to remember for the Deeside fans.
“I think it’s going to be the most exciting season ever for these fans and we’ll be doing everything we can to deliver success,” said Paul.
“Every coach, regardless of budgets, always wants to put together a squad that is capable of winning the league, and that’s no different for me. It is a tough league but we have added some real quality to our team who we believe will help us challenge. The investment has been a huge boost for the club. I think it’s going be a thrilling season.”
Dragons face-off this Saturday with a challenge match away to Telford Tigers (5.30pm).