As our opening game of 2017 draws closer, we thought it would be a good time to catch up with two Buccaneers who won’t be pulling on the black and yellow this season after making the jump to league hockey. Mark Higson left us for his second stint in NIHL2, this time with the Bradford Bulldogs and Carl Price made the somewhat shorter journey to the Blackburn Hawks in NIHL1.
Both players have grown into their roles at their respective clubs and are seeing more ice time as the season progresses. Mark has registered 5 goals and 4 assists while Carl has picked up 2 goals and 4 assists.
We asked Mark to outline the most notable differences between playing at rec level and making the jump to league:
Commitment is probably the biggest thing. At rec you can turn up to training when you want and there is a more relaxed atmosphere but playing in a league team there is that pressure to be at every training session with your teammates and to be available and ready to give it your all nearly every weekend in games. And most rec teams don’t really have a proper coaching set-up with dedicated coaches so you have to get yourself in the correct mind-set to listen to your coaches and take on board what they are saying. If you don’t, you’re benched and that doesn’t happen at rec.
Then it goes without saying that on the ice the speed and physical nature is a big jump from rec. From a team perspective, we’ve been playing two-line hockey for the majority of the year so it’s been difficult but enjoyable to test myself against the top players in the league. We’ve also had to be disciplined as you can’t afford high PIMs with only 5 players on the bench.
A man of slightly fewer words than Mark, when asked what he thought saw as the biggest differences between Rec and League were, Carl answered
The Buccaneers now face the tall order of replacing Mark and Carl for the 2017 season. Buccs captain Michael Walsh offered his thoughts on how you fill that gap.
Mark and Carl combined for over 60 points last season so trying to replace that is going to be tough. We’re going to need everyone to step up this season and put some good numbers up right across the team if we’re going to win games.
The Buccaneers make the short journey to Deeside this Sunday to face the Flintshire Phantoms in a challenge game. It’s expected to be a tough one for the Buccs – games against Flintshire are always tight and if the club want to come away with a result we’ll have to be on top of our game.