The overdue home comforts that are helping Leeds Knights settle into Elland Road rink quickly
Sam Gospel says the addition of a few ‘creature comforts’ at Leeds Knights’ Elland Road rink has already had a positive effect on players.
The 27-year-old netminder was a key member of the Leeds Chiefs’ roster in the 2019-20 NIHL National season, an inaugural campaign that was plagued by off-ice issues, most notably not having any home rink until late January.
Even once the team were able to call the venue ‘home’ there was precious little by way of comfort in the home locker room, with limited seating and nowhere to hang equipment.
But a summer of change has not just been confined to a new ownership, a new name and a new head coach, with small changes being made off the ice, such as individual changing room stalls now being in place.
“Having those creature comforts, if you like, is always good,” said Gospel. “It’s great to have a place that we can properly call home because we were only there for a few weeks before the pandemic brought it all to an end very quickly.
“It gives us an environment to sit down, enjoy ourselves and work as a group. That then translates on to the ice.”
Despite suffering back-to-back one-goal defeats at the weekend in a pre-season challenge double-header against Swindon Wildcats, Gospel said he was pleased to get back into the swing of things having had so long off because of the pandemic.
“It was nice to play back-to-back games and just get into the swing of things,” added Gospel.