The Nottingham Lions are delighted to announce the re-signing of veteran captain Luke Thomas for their upcoming 2015/16 NIHL Laidler D2 campaign.
The 29-year-old will be beginning his eighth season as a Lion and has enjoyed a prosperous career, split between Nottingham and his hometown club Solihull Barons.
Speaking to nottinghamlions.co.uk this week, Thomas was clearly pleased to be back, saying:
“I've played the majority of my senior career at the club and Nottingham is now like my adopted hometown. There isn't anywhere else that I'd want to be playing my hockey right now.”
“The management have yet again shown their faith in me where others in the past haven't. When you get the feeling of being wanted and valued by a club, it makes the decision of where to sign much easier.”
Bringing thirteen years of senior level experience to the ice and locker room, the defenceman has enjoyed many successes during seasons past, including a career high 25 points during the Lions’ 2012/13 championship winning campaign.
Last season Thomas picked up 4 goals and 13 assists, in what was an unmemorable season for Nottingham but the Solihull-born D-man is now only thinking of the future and added:
“Putting last season behind us and moving on is top of my agenda. Things that happened last year weren't very 'Nottingham-like' but both myself and the team as a whole need to learn from the mistakes we made and use the experience to make us stronger.”
“I still believe we had the second best team in the league in terms of ability and skill, but we lacked consistency and commitment from some. It's hard to put wins on the board when you are turning up at away games with only 10 guys and some of those playing through injury.”
“I think the experience we had will help to make us stronger this season and Matt and Gloss (Paul Glossop) have set out on a pretty ambitious path and have a clear vision of where they want the Nottingham club as whole to be in the next few years. When I signed up and brought into their plans, I knew it wasn’t all going to be easy but you have to take the ups with the downs in any sport.”
Many of the Lions’ opponents for the forthcoming season have been very busy ‘splashing the cash’ over the summer but Thomas seems unfazed in what is after all, supposed to be a development league.
“I have seen that a couple of teams have come out and stated that they are going to win the league but it's a very dangerous game to come out and promise fans that.” added Thomas.
“It is tough for the Lions to attract new talent, especially when we have to tell them they will need to cough up over £1000 to play for the season but as I've said before, this game is about the badge on the chest, not the name on the back of the jersey. We will just play our own game and try to do our talking through on ice results.”
Also back for another season is head coach Matt Bradbury, who had no doubts about who he wanted as his captain for the new season.
“It was a no brainer to have him back on board to lead.” said Bradbury.
“It would be fair to say Luke will want to put last season behind him and focus on the task ahead. He's got a lot to get his head around and focus on pulling a new cohort of players together. Being captain is possibly the most prestigious job within any team sport but it obviously comes with huge responsibility and can often be one of the more tricky roles.”
Bradbury also commented on the challenge that awaits in 2015/16, adding:
“It's going to be a tough season but one thing that won't be changing is the ethos of icing and playing young players that earn a chance to play at our level and I look forward to seeing how other teams across the NIHL address this development.“
Keep checking back at nottinghamlions.co.uk in the coming days for more exciting player announcements, with some fresh faces due to arrive at the National Ice Centre in the very near future.