Leeds Knights coach Dave Whistle happy with progress ahead of new NIHL National season

DAVE WHISTLE declared himself satisfied with his first couple of days’ work on the ground as he gets busy preparing Leeds Knights for their first-ever season.

The 55-year-old head coach and GM made his first visit to the Elland Road ice rink on Monday, holding a series of meetings before taking his first practise session with some of the players who will play under him in NIHL National.

Yesterday saw him trying to sort out accommodation for the handful of players that will need it, as well as himself.

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There were further meetings with potential sponsors before a Q&A session with members of the Knights’ Supporters’ club.

NEW SURROUNDINGS: Leeds Knights head coach Dave Whistle, with team owner Steve Nell, Picture: Simon Hulme.

After today’s announcement that his son Brandon will be joining him in Leeds for the 2021-22 NIHL National season - the 23-year-old forward a double winner with Telford Tigers in the second-tier’s inaugural 2019-20 campaign that was cut short by the pandemic - Whistle and team owner Steve Nell will continue to work on off-ice business.

Whistle is then set to return to Leeds next Tuesday, when he hopes to remain on a permanent basis.

“As a coach I was just glad to get back on the ice on Monday night,” said Whistle.

“It has been a long year and a half, for these guys especially, they are the ones that are playing and doing all the work and, as for me, I’m just there for the ride and helping as much as I can.

PLEASED TO MEET YOU: Dave Whistle goes through a drill with his Leeds Knights' players at Elland Road ice rink.

“I loved getting out there with them and seeing everything and I’m looking forward to the games now too.

“Everybody was pumped to get back at it, you could tell - they were pretty excited and they had smiles on their faces out on the ice.”

Whistle said there was still much work to be done both on and off the ice ahead of the first pre-season games against Swindon Wildcats on the weekend of September 4 and 5.

“We’ve had a lot of productive meetings over the last couple of days and there is a lot of work to do still before the start of the year.

“So Steve and I will be up here as much as possible. Hopefully, when I can come back up next week, I can be here for good.”