Hometown prospect Sam Towner wants to emulate his boyhood heroes by becoming a regular in the Hull Stingrays line-up this season.
Along with fellow British forward Andy Ward, 17-year-old Towner is one of two local players to have signed a two-way deal with the Elite League club this week.
Both played a handful of games for Sylvain Cloutier’s side last year and are expected to feature more regularly during the 2012-13 campaign, while also playing for the club’s fourth-tier ENL team.
Towner has already been tipped as a star of the future by Stingrays’ new owner Bobby McEwan.
“Sam has got all the skills and he loves the game,” said McEwan. “He stepped in last season when we had some injuries and was put on a line with Clouts (Cloutier) – he was unbelievable for someone his age and really impressed.”
Towner said he had been inspired by the success enjoyed by other homegrown players in recent years – Kevin and David Phillips and Stephen Lee – who had become Stingrays’ regulars before moving on to taste success at rival Elite League clubs.
“I used to come and watch the likes of Kevin and David Phillips and Steve Lee when I was growing up,” said Towner. “Seeing what they have gone on and done is something I aspire to.”