Why Leeds Knights boss Dave Whistle is glad to have former Hull Pirates centre Matty Davies on board
HEAD COACH Dave Whistle believes he has added a natural leader in to his Leeds Knights’ roster in the shape of experienced centre Matty Davies.
The 31-year-old will continue his playing days at Elland Road on the back of an impressive 16-year senior career, something Whistle hopes will rub off on a lot of the younger players around him.
Whistle was quick to move once news came out that Hull Pirates - Davies’ hometown club - would not be taking part in the 2021-22 NIHL National campaign due to the delayed refurbishment of Hull Ice Arena.
Davies would be a welcome addition to any other roster in the second-tier but, realistically, there were only a handful of serious destinations.
Other teams did talk to the former GB international but, in the end, Whistle was able to persuade the forward that his immediate future need only be an hour’s drive along the M62.
“Matty is going to bring a welcome veteran presence to our team,” said Whistle, now out of quarantine in his temporary staging post down in Swindon since arriving from Canada last week and who is hoping to make his first visit to Leeds within the next few days.
“He’s been a good player in the Elite League, he’s been a good player in the NIHL. After talking to him I got to know him pretty well. He owns a gym over in Hull and he loves it and he’s really grounded to that area. He loves living there, so it kind of just fit for him coming to Leeds.
“He really wants to play hockey and he wants to be part of a group that is serious. He’s in really good shape and he’s been a great player his whole career and we’re hoping for big things from him.”
Whistle said Davies offered the kind of skill and leadership combination he was looking for in his senior players, particularly with his roster having a generally youthful feel to it, in terms of the players signed prior to Davies’s arrival.
“He’s going to be a great leader on our team,” added Whistle. “He has played at every level in the UK, he’s done everything and he’s won things.
“He’s a really good skater who clearly wants the whole team to do well. We had a great conversation, it was a pretty long talk and I felt it went really well. I think our values and his values line up pretty good.”