GENERAL manager Jaimie Longmuir paid tribute to the loyalty David Longstaff showed during Newcastle Vipers’ formative years as the club sets out on the next phase in its history.
The 35-year-old captain has followed coach Rob Wilson out of the club after agreeing to join English Premier League side Guildford Flames. With another homegrown player Dean Holland also leaving and Ben Campbell considering doing likewise, Danny Stewart’s will be a much-changed team next season.
Longstaff joined the Vipers in their first campaign, 2002-03, and has been there ever since, save for a short spell in Switzerland.
“David has been a huge part of the club’s history, and in that respect it’s sad he’s moved on to a new challenge,” Longmuir commented.
“His contribution to the growth of the Vipers on and off the ice has been massive, and we cannot thank him enough for his time as a Newcastle player.
“David is still one of the premier British forwards in the game, and I’m sure he will do very well in Guildford. We wish him the best for the future.
“He has had numerous offers to sign elsewhere over the years, but has remained tremendously loyal to Newcastle.
“Danny Stewart has a tough job trying to replace David’s presence on the ice and in the dressing room, that’s for sure.” Longstaff himself added: “I have enjoyed my time at Newcastle, it has been fantastic to play for my hometown team.
“It has been an honour to be club captain for the past three seasons.
“Now, though, the timing seems right for a move.”
The club that produced Longstaff – Whitley Warriors – are aiming to again see off Nottingham Lions and clinch an English National League double.
The Warriors take a 2-0 lead to Nottingham for the second leg of the Northern play-off final having already beaten the Lions to the championship by two points.