DANNY Stewart has drafted in three more players to ease Newcastle Vipers’ manpower shortage in the season run-in.
Vipers’ already thin squad was hit by the departure of three players in January, while the Elite League’s transfer embargo prevented Stewart from bringing in replacements.
But he has been able to sign 21-year-old defenceman Dan Harris and 25-year-old forward DJ Good from Whitley Warriors, along with 17-year-old forward Alex Lawson from the Northern Stars. Harris has already iced for the Vipers, making his debut in last weekend’s thumping 15-0 Challenge Cup defeat at Nottingham, while Lawson was recently named in the Great Britain Under-18 squad for the forthcoming World Championships.
The new signings will give the Vipers a boost, as they prepare to travel to Braehead Clan tonight (7pm) and then entertain Nottingham Panthers at Whitley Bay tomorrow (5pm).
Player-coach Stewart said: “We need to bounce back after losing so badly in the cup, and hopefully the new signings will give us a little lift.
“Certainly, these additions give me more options for the bench and more bodies to pick from.
“We are all aware how short-benched we are, and the past couple of weeks we’ve played a lot of hockey and the guys are starting to get very tired, and also with one or two niggling injuries which are becoming more of a concern.
“The signings of Dan Harris and DJ Good give us a couple more options from the Warriors, and Alex Lawson is an up and coming talent that should benefit from training with us once in a while and dressing in games before the season’s end.
“Both the Stars and Warriors have games that clash with ours, and then guys work and may not be available all of the time. However, if we have more options we can limit the games we are having to play with 10 or 11 skaters.
“It is also a great opportunity for these guys to get some experience of playing in the top flight.”
l Tickets for tomorrow’s game at Whitley Bay are available in advance from the club on 0191 477 4100 or online at vipershockey.co.uk/shop. The beach-themed night will see the Vipers wearing their Hawaiian-style jersey, while crew from the RNLI Cullercoats Lifeboat will be performing the pre-game puck drop.