Sam Gospel intent on helping Leeds Chiefs realise their full potential in NIHL National

SAM GOSPEL says the opportunity to help Leeds Chiefs realise their potential in the city was one of the biggest factors in his decision to sign up for the 2019-20 NIHL National season.

Monday, 24th June 2019, 08:24 am
Sam Gospel, seen in action last season for Nottingham Panthers, has been signed as the No 1 netminder for Leeds Chiefs for the 2019-20 NIHL National season. Picture courtesy of EIHL/Karl Denham.

The 25-year-old goaltender was unveiled on Thursday as the club’s latest signing ahead of their inaugural season which will see them play out of a brand new rink on Elland Road.

Gospel – who played with Chiefs’ player-coach Sam Zajac for Telford Tigers in the now defunct EPL – is regarded by many as one of the best young British netminders around.

But a lack of starting opportunities at hometown Elite League club Nottingham Panthers led to him looking elsewhere to gain the valuable game time he craves.

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The deal between Nottingham and Leeds will see Gospel continue to train with the Panthers as well as practising with his new team-mates up the M1, where he is keen to embrace the challenge of launching a new team in a city new to the sport.

“Whenever a new team comes around it is always exciting,” said Gospel. “It’s a fresh start and there are no heads to be turned as you are not being compared to past teams or players.

“There’s always a risk but for me it is an opportunity to start afresh again. I feel I was a competent starter in the old EPL, and, moving up to the Elite League, I knew I wasn’t going to get 50-plus games there, so it is going to be great to play a lot of games again. So, the opportunity of being a starting goalie again was something that I didn’t want to pass up.

“Leeds is already a big sporting city and, hopefully, we can attract people from all over to come down and watch. And with it being a new rink, it is the perfect opportunity to start a new fanbase.”