It has been a hectic period for the Hull Pirates hierarchy since it was announced almost immediately at the end of last season that the Pirates would be competing in the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division One for the 2017/18 season.
Owner Shane Smith has been a very busy man and within two days of the divisional change it was announced that the ever popular player-coach Jason Hewitt would be continuing in his role, much to the delight of everyone associated with the Pirates.
The playing roster has undergone a few changes, the retention and signings that Hewitt has overseen over the last couple of months has a distinctly local feel about it.
Jamie Chilcott will not only be returning with his hometown team, the defenceman, 23 will captain the Pirates.
GB forward Lee Bonner and abrasive defenceman, Jordan Fisher amongst others including the ever popular Jonathan Kirk and Hull born Sam Towner who will be turning out for the Pirates next season.
Returning to the Hull arena via Manchester and Peterborough is 28-year-old winger James Archer, who made 10 appearances for the Hull Stingrays. Joining Archer in the Pirates colours next year will be tough 19-year-old Corey Stones, who will certainly add some ‘steel and grit’ to the roster and another ‘new’ face returning home is the tenacious Matty Davies.
Some notable names who will be plying their trade away from the Hull arena next season, having left the Pirates are top scorer, Andrej Themar, Tommi Laine, Ugnius Cizas,Martins Ondrej and veteran goal tender Vlastomil Lakosil.
Off the ice the Pirates will once again be backed by the Smailes Goldie Group as title sponsors and local business Southwood Garden centre return for a third year as a sponsor partner.
The Pirates announced that they have struck a partnership with elite league Manchester Storm that will see goal tender Ash Smith travelling west to become back up minder for the Storm and regular opportunities for some of the Pirates under-23 players to “play-up” with the Storm as and when required.
Of the partnership owner Shane Smith said “For me this is what we need to be doing, trying to get links with Elite teams which will breed the next generation of GB internationals”.
The price of season tickets have also been announced, an adult season ticket for 24 home league games and group cup games at £199 is incredible value, match day adult prices are just £10. For full prices and details please see the official website www.hullpirates.co.uk or the facebook page.
A preseason double header against arch-rivals and near neighbours Sheffield Steeldogs for the Bradfield Brewery cup which the Pirates won in dramatic fashion last season will take place on the 26th/27th August with the first leg taking place in Hull. These ‘friendly’ match ups are sure to whet the appetite for the regular season opening the following weekend.
Pictures courtesy of Hull Pirates.