Leeds Knights: Ethan Hehir keen to help Knights deliver on their obvious silverware promise

ONCE Ethan Hehir was aware Leeds Knights wanted him to return for the 2022-23 NIHL National season, there was little more to discuss.

By Phil Harrison
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 6:57 am

When it came to sitting down with head coach Ryan Aldridge to discuss his future, it was essentially a meeting of like minds, it soon becoming clear that the 20-year-old forward would be back for a second campaign at Elland Road - buoyed by a season of progress, both for himself and the team.

The former GB Under-20 and Under-18 international credits the arrival of Aldridge behind the bench in mid-January as being the catalyst for his game reaching another level in the latter part of the season, particularly after he was switched to centre the top line between Kieran Brown and Adam Barnes.

His ‘promotion’ - brought about initially by injury to the experienced Matty Davies - gave him the confidence to go out and fulfil the role asked of him by Aldridge, his presence allowing his free-scoring team-mates to continue doing what they do best.

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Ethan Hehir - in action for Leeds Knights against Sheffield Steeldogs at Elland Road last season. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

But regardless of whatever line he finds himself on next season - he will no doubt move between all three - he is just happy to be continuing his career in West Yorkshire.

“I spoke to Ryan a little bit about next year and he was really keen to get me back. I was keen to come back so it was easy to get things sorted as both parties were interested from the start,” explained Hehir.

“When Ryan came in, I think we showed great signs of improvement straight off the bat and I reckon he’ll only keep that going for the next two years now he’s agreed a new deal himself.

“He helped instil a lot more confidence in my game and he believed in me a lot more too. Hopefully I can carry on that development.”

Ryan Aldridge - the Leeds Knights head coach was keen to get Ethan Hehir back on board for the 2022-23 NIHL National season. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Hehir becomes the ninth signing of the close-season so far by the Knights and, while keeping the identity of future additions close to his chest, he admits he is impressed by both those whose names are still to be revealed as well as those already on board.

“Having somebody like Matty Haywood on the team will be good for younger players like me as he’s got a lot of experience,” her added. “I’m still only 20 so I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me yet.

“It’s going to be quite a young team again this year and I’m impressed with who is coming back. Silverware has to be an aim of ours, it always has to be. As players, we don’t just want to play for second or third, you’ve got to aim higher, especially being as competitive as we are. We definitely want to push for as much as we can and there’s no reason why this can’t next season.”