Sutton Sting’s new player-coach Simon Offord has extended the roster to 4 lines for the forthcoming ice hockey season and he has looked no further that the list of up and coming players from last season as the starting point to fill the available slots on the team.
One of the names at the top of his list is that of Nottingham youngster, James Burton, who is today announced as the latest addition to the Sting squad for the 2011/12 ice hockey season. Sutton Sting will be competing in the English National Ice Hockey League from the first week-end of September and Coach Offord has already assembled a strong nucleus of players and he has high hopes as he prepares for the first game in a few weeks time. Speaking about his latest addition he said, “We have offered James (Burton) a slot on our roster because we like what he brings to the team and the Club. He is a reliable player who gives 100% every shift and we know exactly what we are going to get from him. I am delighted he is returning for next season.”
Burton will be returning to the Ashfield club for his 3rd season and said today, “I am glad that Simon and Ian Johnson wanted to re-sign me. It is great to be given the opportunity to continue with my development with Sutton Sting and I know that I can only get better as a player playing at this Club because I know we are going to have a very good team for the coming season.”
A product of the Nottingham junior system, Burton started out at age six where he played as goalie for Nottingham Pumas in the U10 junior league. It was as a goalie that Burton made his name and he played for 11 seasons at Nottingham where he represented every age group as a goalie. His final year at U18 was a disappointment and he decided that he had played his last goal between the pipes. When Sutton Sting announced their plans for an ENL team three years ago, Burton was at the first try-out sessions and he has been at the club ever since. But not as net-minder. Instead he traded-in his goalie pads for out-skaters kit and has not looked back since taking-up a role as a forward.
James is a very determined and enthusiastic player and while at the Sting he has found a new love for ice hockey which is driving him to improve his skills and develop his all-round game. He said, “With players like Ben Lowe joining the Sting I know that I will improve as a player. Playing with better players makes you raise your own game by working harder and trying to keep-up with those boys who are so much better than you. I saw first hand last season how the younger lads, like Ben Hollingworth and Zach Radford, improved playing alongside our best players and I know that this season I will be looking to do the same. I hope that we will be able to reproduce the form from earlier this year because I know we will prove difficult to beat.”
Burton is realistic about his goals and aspirations for the new season, he added, “Obviously I want to be on the ice as much as possible but I know the team has a tough job ahead of us and promotion to Division 1 is our overall objective. That said, I hope that with the quality of the new players on the roster they should be able to provide the Coach with the opportunity to rotate the lines and give all of us the chance to show what we can do and improve at the same time.”
The Sting’s senior coach Ian Johnson understands Burton’s aims as well as anyone at the Club and said, “I am a big fan of “Burts”, he is a good kid to have around and I have every confidence in his ability to do a job for Sutton Sting. He is a worker and a try-er who is keen to learn and eager to impress. I like that in a player and I know that he will be a valuable addition to our roster.”
Burton will be taking the number 9 jersey for the coming season, and he has been busy promoting the Club during his day-job as a painter and decorator. “I’ve been telling all of my clients about Sutton Sting and I have even managed to attract some personal sponsorship which I hope to announce very soon.”
Sutton Sting will be playing their home games at Ice Sheffield commencing early September. The fixtures have yet to be announced but with the addition of Solway Sharks in ENL D2 North the Sting are sure to have some very stiff opposition as well as a long coach trip.
Sunday, 07 August 2011 09:03