Telford Tigers are delighted to announce the coaching team returning for the 2023/24 season, with Tom Watkins and Scott McKenzie returning for a further season in their respective roles.
After arriving in Telford as player coach back in 2010, Tom Watkins has played an instrumental role in the success of Telford Tigers over the past decade. Watkins returns for his sixth year at the club in the dual role of General Manager and Head Coach, but overall represents his fourteenth season as the first-team coach.
Having made 289 competitive appearances and coached Telford Tigers in close to 750 games, Watkins is the Tigers’ most successful coach in the club’s history, winning four league championships, two cups & a North Playoff during his spell in charge.
Tom will once again be supported by Assistant Coaches Barry Hollyhead and Karl Creamer for the upcoming season, which Watkins is delighted about.
“I’m delighted to welcome back both Barry & Karl behind the bench once again. They are both guys that have a long history with the Tigers as players, as coaches and have been part of some fantastic teams here in Telford. They are a huge support to myself, we have an excellent working relationship, both bring different qualities to the role, both different personalities but we have excellent understanding amongst the three of us. Karl & Barry are a huge asset to the club.”
For the club’s Laidler side and returning for his third season in the role, Scott McKenzie is named as the Tigers 2 Head Coach alongside Doug Wildman as Assistant Coach. After clinching the League title in 2022 followed by the double 2023 crowning with the League Cup and Playoff title, the coaching duo will be looking to build on that success in the upcoming season.
Watkins commented on the re-appointment of the winning coaching mix for Tigers 2 saying;
“It’s great news that Scott and Doug will be once again taking charge of our Telford Tigers 2 team. They have built tremendous team spirit amongst the group and have had a lot of success over the last two seasons, winning several pieces of silverware for the club. I’m looking forward to seeing what the guys can achieve this season.”
Tigers 2 Assistant Coach Dougie is pleased to be back on the bench for this 2023/24 season commenting:
“I’m very pleased to be back for another year assisting Scott. We have had a successful formula the last two seasons and we will be looking to build on that again. We’re already looking to put together another strong and capable team to challenge for silverware this year and we are eager to get going.”
As a continuation from the past two seasons, the Laidler side will once benefit from the support provided by Kieran Nickless as Team Manager. Kieran joined the team in the 2021/22 season, assisting with match day logistics and player management. Since then he has helped the team to grow both on and off the ice, significantly contributing towards the two hugely successful seasons we have seen for Telford Tigers 2.
Owner of Telford Tigers, Mike Washburn, commented on the return of the club’s coaching team, “I am delighted to see the return of Tom as both the Club General Manager and Head Coach of Telford Tigers as well as Scott as our Tigers 2 Coach. As a group, we have worked together for many years and have known each other even longer.
“We come off the back of a challenging season for our National team, whose spirit was incredible going into the final few weeks of the season. I’m excited to see the development of both our teams for the upcoming season, developing both our on-ice and off-ice product.
Also the news of Kieran Nickless returning as Tigers 2 Team Manager is great for our club. Not many teams are able to have the support system, particularly at the North 2 level of competition, so we’re very lucky to have Kieran return.
As Chairman I fully back and support Tom, Scott and all our coaching support staff across both teams and relish building an ice hockey community of the highest order and fit for the future. Here’s to the new season!”