How Leeds Knights players will be expected to help juniors thrive

LEEDS KNIGHTS’ players will be expected to play an active role in helping the club’s newly-formed junior section develop over the coming years, according to head coach and GM Dave Whistle.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:45 pm
FUTURE PLANS: Dave Whistle, far right, pictured with youngsters at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia. Picture courtesy of OHA.
FUTURE PLANS: Dave Whistle, far right, pictured with youngsters at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia. Picture courtesy of OHA.

Leeds Junior Knights are holding the first of two trials on Sunday at Elland Road Ice Arena (6.30pm) with a second one scheduled for the same time the following weekend.

Whistle made his name in the UK by coaching Bracknell Bees and Belfast Giants to Superleague titles, as well as enjoying two spells at Cardiff Devils.

But in recent years his time has been taken up by working in junior hockey back home in Canada, the 55-year-old last week bringing the curtain down on a six-year stint at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in British Columbia.

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The creation of a junior section that provides a potential direct path through to the senior Knights was a crucial factor in convincing Whistle to come to Leeds.

“It’s an important avenue and it’s important for our team to get involved with kids and get them coming out to the rink, watching our games, it goes hand in hand,” said Whistle.

“I’d like our players involved with the minor hockey groups, going out and practising with them and helping them as much as possible.

“Minor hockey is important. I’ve really enjoyed the Okanagan setting and it has helped me to help a lot of younger children progress and develop as players.”