Light at end of tunnel over new rink adds motivation for Leeds Chiefs to start looking up

JOE COULTER says Leeds Chiefs’ players are not lacking any motivation as they see the “light at the end of the tunnel” in terms of their Elland Road rink finally opening its doors at the end of next month.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 8:35 am
Updated Saturday, 21st December 2019, 2:34 pm
COUNTDOWN: Leeds Chiefs will be playing out of their Elland Road rink for the first time on January 31. Picture courtesy of gw-images.com

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And for 24-year-old Coulter, who was persuaded by player-coach Sam Zajac to make the switch from Solways Sharks to West Yorkshire in the summer, it brings the chance to be part of a little bit of ice hockey history that bit closer.

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“I get that people have been a bit tense with the delays to the rink, but that is out of our hands. Once it is open, it is going to be an incredible place to be. “The fans deserve it, the guys deserve it.

“We’ve been battling out on the road a lot – probably one of the toughest things about playing hockey is playing on the road – and we’ve done that for almost half a season and it’s been hard. But now we’ve got a date for the opening, it just gives us something to work towards.

“It is like the light at the end of the tunnel that we’ve all been waiting for."

And having defied the odds twice when short-benched in Basingstoke last weekend to emerge with four points, Coulter is confident the Chiefs can repeat that success this time around.

Joe Coulter says the Leeds Chiefs' players are keen to get going in their new home on Elland Road. Picture courtsy of gw-images.com

The only previous meeting against Essex-based Raiders IHC, who they 'host' in Coventry on Saturday night, proved an historic moment as it delivered the organisation's first-ever win in the form of a 4-0 triumph.

And with the visitors just five points above Leeds in the standings and having played three games more, it makes the second meeting of the season between the two even more pivotal.

"It's a massive game for us, 100 per cent," added Coulter. "They are just above us and we’ve got some games in hand on them too, if we beat them this weekend it takes the gap down to just three points.

"Ideally, before the new year, the aim is to get ourselves off the foot of that table and the energy and the vibe that we are getting from the guys is that everybody is up for it.

"That is the motivation right now, to get as many points as we can from the next five games or however many are left before the turn of the year and get ourselves off the bottom. Then we can look at trying to start picking off other teams one by one, week by week."