The Solutions For Accounting Nottingham Lions ended the season on a high note but tempered with the one regret that the play offs drifted away from them with some reversals in fortunes that the team would definitely have wanted back had they had the opportunity.
All of the main contenders for glory this past season fell at some stage when they came up against the Lions and they even succeeded in their games against the eventual Laidler Conference champions the Blackburn Eagles to take the four game series. An achievement indeed given the winning squad that Scott Barnett had brought together in their 2016/17 conference challenge.
The season started with the Lions not featuring as one of the front runners for honours and with the likes of Widnes Wild, Blackburn Eagles, Altrincham Aces, and with the return of a strong Sheffield Senators from the Moralee Conference all tipped as possible conference champions, the Lions set out on a massive task to make their mark.
As is well known throughout the NIHL the Lions mainly rely on recruiting from within the junior system here in Nottingham and with the Lions Academy Programme now well established the development of the up and coming players continues at a pace.
It is also well known that our young players are supported massively by a nucleus of seasoned players who provide the stability and support to players in their development process. Without the support and guidance offered by the senior players on the ice during games the confidence of the youngsters can take a beating as they come up against some long serving experienced players in the opposing teams. Their encouragement continues to be a high priority within the organisation.
The season ended for the Lions as they just missed out on a play off position but then came the announcement of the 2016/17 NIHL Radio North End of Season Award Winners and some final, well deserved, accolades for the Nottingham Lions players, coaching team, and management.
You could go through the Nottingham team and easily pick out players deserving of awards but as we are all aware it just doesn’t work that way but all of the team celebrate the achievement of Joe Humphries voted Young Player of the Year.
Head Coach Matt Bradbury spoke about how proud he was for one of the Lions to collect this award "Joe has had an outstanding year with the Lions and at only 19 he has now completed three full seasons of senior hockey with us and he is still improving year on year. He is a gritty determined young man that is not afraid to get caught up in the middle of the action. Joe is a strong skater and works hard every time he steps on the ice, he's a real grafter and a great team player. He deserves this accolade for the season and look forward to him being a key part of the Lions set up going forward."
The whole of the Nottingham Club also celebrate the achievement of Nottingham Lions who were voted Organisation of the Year which is in recognition for efforts off the ice - Danny Harrison Team and NIHC GM said "We have a huge pool of volunteers from the coaching staff, management, the guy that plays the music on match nights, the person that collects the man of the match awards, goal judges, bench officials, photographers, Friends of the Lions, all the team sponsors and everyone behind the scenes that just - do what they do! Without these dedicated volunteers we wouldn't be able to pick up this great award and put the Lions out on the ice year on year."
Finally netminder Tom Hovell was selected for the Second All Star Team which again is another great achievement and recognition for the team ethos, at the age of 21 Tom has now just completed his 5th season as a senior netminder.
Bradbury concluded "We are looking forward to the summer break and we'll see where we are come August when we get back on the ice. I'm sure as always there will be lots of things going on around the league organisation table and we'll be ready to go for next season when the first puck drops."