GENERAL manager Jaimie Longmuir last night praised Newcastle Vipers’ team spirit ahead of Saturday’s clash with Braehead Clan at Whitley Bay.
The Vipers inched closer to a place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals with a 11-4 win over Dundee Stars on Tuesday. That followed the weekend league win over Coventry and the Vipers are hopeful of making it a hat-trick of victories on Saturday.
“I’m extremely proud of each and every one of our players and the commitment and passion they have shown not only in the past few weeks but from first arriving in the North East,” said Longmuir.
“The team spirit and unity the guys have shown has been excellent and to me that’s something you can’t just manufacture – it’s a process and its down in the main to the guys themselves and our player coach Danny Stewart.”
It has been a testing few weeks for the Vipers – Nathan Salem was released after failing to impress, star defenceman Scott Langdon announced he was quitting to head back across the Atlantic and Nick Duff backed out of a move to Tyneside but Longmuir is hopeful of turning the corner.
“We may not have the biggest budget, the most depth or the most talent but what we are seeing develop is a young team with great passion, commitment, work ethic and team mentality and spirit which has really helped us over the past three games.
“The team has had some praise sporadically this season but mostly it’s been criticism – some deserved, but some not deserved, but what everyone needs to remember is how young these guys are and the fact many have been experiencing not just the Elite League for the first time but also the British culture – it takes time to gel and develop.
“Given the additional issues the organisation has faced, they just get on with their business working as hard as possible without grumbling and I can’t say enough about them.
“Braehead will be favourites on Saturday but the pressure is on them to live up to their early season form.”
TICKETS for the visit of the Clan to Whitley Bay Ice Rink on Saturday are available now via vipershockey.co.uk/shop or by calling 0191 477 4100 priced at £12.50 for adults, £9.50 for concessions, £5.50 for under 16’s and £32.00 for a family (2 adults & 2 under 16’s).