Leeds Knights: Bailey Conger quits by text as Knights maintain share of top spot

GONE: Bailey Conger has left Leeds Knights Picture: Jacob Lowe/Knights MediaGONE: Bailey Conger has left Leeds Knights Picture: Jacob Lowe/Knights Media
GONE: Bailey Conger has left Leeds Knights Picture: Jacob Lowe/Knights Media
LEEDS KNIGHTS may have maintained their interest in the two-way race for the NIHL National league title with two wins in as many days – but their festive success has been tempered by news that import forward Bailey Conger has left the club.

​Conger didn’t play in the 4-1 win at Telford Tigers on Wednesday night and, according to a social media post issued by the club on Thursday morning, he informed the club of his decision to leave via text message.

On Twitter, the club stated: “We can confirm that Bailey Conger has made the decision to leave the team with immediate effect after notifying the club yesterday morning via text.”

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The departure comes as a shock given Idaho-born winger Conger only arrived in mid-November to replace axed import Josh Adkins.

In nine games for the Knights, 26-year-old Conger scored six goals and six assists, including a hat-trick in the 5-2 win at Bees IHC on December 10.

It’s unclear how the Knights will move to replace Conger. The timing of the American’s decision leaves the club in something of a predicament, given the associated costs of bringing in imports and the fact a player of the requisite quality would be extremely difficult to find at this time of the year.

Scouring the market for another high-quality British player is an option but, again, they are hard to find, even on a two-way deal.

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The win at Telford followed the 3-1 victory over Solway Sharks on home ice on Boxing Day and ensured that Ryan Aldridge’s team are locked on 42 points with Milton Keynes Lightning, who edged past third-placed Peterborough Phantoms 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday.

Leeds complete their hectic schedule of six games in 10 days with a weekend double-header against Sheffield Steeldogs, entertaining their Yorkshire rivals on Saturday (6.30pm) before heading to Ice Sheffield on Sunday (1.30pm).

The Steeldogs host Telford Tigers on Thursday night in having made a coaching change behind the bench.

News emerged on Thursday afternoon that player-coach Jason Hewitt had stepped down with immediate effect “due to personal circumstances.”

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Stevie Weeks will take over all coaching duties until the end of the season.

Elsewhere, Hull Seahawks let a 3-2 third period lead slip to lose out 5-4 in overtime at Solway Sharks.

Emil Svec, Bobby Chamberlain, Declan Balmer got on the board for Matty Davies’s side but they were undone by John Dunbar’s game-winning strike.

Combined with a 3-2 win for Swindon Wildcats at Bristol Pitbulls, the defeat in Dumfries saw the Seahawks drop to fifth in the standings.