Tom Watkins is back for 2019/20 season as both Head Coach and General Manager. Tom who has recently been announced as the coach for the England U19’s in the annual clash with Scotland has enjoyed a number of years of success with Tigers recently, winning two EPL Championship, an EPL League Cup, Moralee Conference Playoffs, two Great Britain IIHF World Championship Division 1B Silver medals and one Division 1B Gold medal over the last 5 seasons.
Mike Washburn Tigers Chairman said, “It’s great news that Tom takes up the reigns again as both General Manager and Head Coach for the forthcoming season and campaigns. We have been working together for the last 2 years to try and build something special at Telford Tigers. We started from a stressful place when the EPL collapsed and we needed to fuse the ex-Tigers EPL with the Tigers NIHL D1 team. We promised a 3-year strategy to rebuild the club – and 2 years in to the journey, Tom has done a great job, it has not been easy, given his dual role within the club – but the results are evident for all to see. Both the on and off ice products have significantly improved, and our fan base is growing significantly. Winning is Toms innate driver as a Professional Ice Hockey Coach, results are key for all our fans. More than ever though, I have seen a change in Tom this last year, particularly in his role as GM and he now also brings a real commercial desire to deliver on our sustainability objectives. We made a promise that financial resilience was key to the future of Telford Tigers and Tom has pursued this with vigour.
Tigers 1 are entering the NIHL National League this coming season and there are high expectations from top to bottom within the club and with the fans and Tom is already heavily into the securing the new roster that is required. Our NIHL Division 2 team are also looking for league and playoff success again, and of equal importance, our desire to continue developing junior players through our pathway continues at pace. Toms commitment and professional approach are enviable in ensuring the pathway through the club and enabling us to go from strength to strength and he is pivotal to this success.”
Tom stated “I’m really keen to be continuing with the Tigers’, this is my 10th season coaching here and 14th all in, including playing here all those years ago. I’m very proud of what we have achieved over those ten years, it is never easy being a coach and we have had a few very challenging seasons in the past. The last few years have brought about a level of stability off the ice. The GM role that I accepted two years ago also brought with it different challenges. I am extremely thankful for all the volunteers, fans and sponsors who have supported us over the years, and I look forward to pushing to add to the trophies over the next season”
Tom continued by mentioning “The last season has only just finished, but it does not stop, we have our presentation evening this evening (26th April) at the Telford Centre Hotel and we are already well in to the process of recruiting for the 2019/20 season. We will be announcing players over the next couple of months so watch our website and social media channels for details”
Mike finished by saying “I’m immensely proud to be working with Tom, and genuinely believe that the best from him is still yet to come.”