Leeds Knights coach Ryan Aldridge backs Matty Davies to deliver success for Hull Seahawks

RYAN ALDRIDGE has backed former Leeds Knights captain Matty Davies to be a success in bringing back NIHL National hockey to Hull.

The 32-year-old centre will be in charge of hockey operations in his hometown next season – probably in a player-coach role – after teaming up with local businessmen Ian Mowforth and Joe Lamplough to form the Hull Seahawks.

Along with the Bristol Pitbulls, the Seahawks are one of two new teams the Knights will face off against next season – ending a two-year absence of second-tier hockey in East Yorkshire.

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Former GB international Davies first played for Aldridge when he came in to work under Pete Russell as player-coach at Swindon Wildcats in 2008-09 in the English Premier League.

Matty Davies (far right) enjoyerd a successful return to the ice during his one season at Leeds Knights. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Davies then returned home to play in the Elite League with Hull Stingrays, while Aldridge remained in Wiltshire, eventually succeeding Russell and remaining behind the bench, mostly as a player-coach, until 2015.

The two were reunited last season when Aldridge was brought in to succeed the ousted Dave Whistle in January, the 43-year-old making Davies his captain, with the 32-year-old going on to post a 62-point haul for the season from 47 games and including 15 goals.

And it is those leadership qualities that Aldridge believes will serve the Seahawks well, Davies having last represented his hometown when playing for the Hull Pirates in the first year of the NIHL National in 2019-20 before the pandemic struck, an event which eventually saw the demise of owner Shane Smith’s team.

“Matty has obviously got a passion for hockey but he’s also got a passion for Hull, so there is probably no better person to take this level of hockey back there,” said Aldridge, who this week agreed a two-year deal to remain as Knights’ head coach.

Ryan Aldridge (far left) will be backj on a two-year to coach Leeds Knights next season - but veteran centre Matty Davies returns home to his hometown to spearhead the Hull Seahawks. Picture courtesy of Oliver Portamento.

“I think he’ll do a great job. He’s got a wealth of experience and hopefully he can convert that into his coaching, And when I was talking to Matty about who was going on board with him, it sounded exciting.

“He will be a big loss and he’ll be one of the holes we have to fill this summer.

“But, looking at the bigger picture, it’s going to be great for both teams in terms of the rivalry that’s going to come about as a result of Hull having a team in this league again.”