Luke Boothroyd confident Leeds Chiefs will be competitive force in National League
LUKE BOOTHROYD is expecting Leeds Chiefs to be competitive from the first puck drop when they launch their first-ever season later this year in the National League.
The 32-year-old defenceman was unveiled as the Elland Road club’s first signing by player-coach Sam Zajac on Monday as the countdown continues towards the launch of the city’s latest sporting franchise.
Boothroyd makes the switch to West Yorkshire having spent the last two seasons with Blackburn Hawks and brings with him a wealth of experience, which includes five caps for Great Britain.
More signings are expected to be announced soon by the Chiefs, while building work continues to get the site ready for when the new season starts at the end of August.
The new National League is seen by many as a much-needed return to providing a more competitive second tier in the UK game beneath the Elite League and Boothroyd, who won two league titles and a play-off trophy with Manchester Phoenix in the now-defunct English Premier League, is confident Leeds will have a significant part to play.
“We need to be a competitive team from the start,” said Boothroyd. “Sam wouldn’t have taken the job if he didn’t think he could put together a competitive team.
“It is on us as players to fulfil the potential and put the hours in to make sure we get the right results.”
Boothroyd believes the National League will provide a firmer stepping stone for younger players coming through the system to go on and play in the Elite League.
“It will be a very competitive league and entertaining to watch – it fills that gap between the lower levels and the Elite League,” he added. “The British game is getting stronger and stronger and having that bit of an extra stepping stone can only be a good thing.
“I’m just happy to be involved here from the very start at Leeds and see what we can build. It’s somewhere that, for the first time in my career, I’m playing close to home so that will be a novelty. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of competitive, entertaining team Sam will put together.”