Leeds Knights - Finley Bradon keen to play key role in retaining NIHL National play-off crown

LAST year, Finley Bradon missed the majority of Leeds Knights’ NIHL National play-off campaign. This time he hopes to be front and centre of it.

Bradon was away in Belgrade for the Under-18 Division 2A World Championships in Belgrade and so missed all of the Knights’ post-season. Well, almost.

Returning home on Sunday from Serbia, he hot-footed it to Coventry’s SkyDome Arena in time to make it onto the Knights’ bench to suit up for the play-off final against Raiders IHC.

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Given his absence over the previous weeks, his role was restricted to just the one shift as the Knights went on to win 5-4 and clinch the league and play-off double.

ALWAYS THERE: Finley Bradon has been an ever-present for Leeds Knights this season, when not away on GB Under-20 international duty. Picture: Bruce RollinsonALWAYS THERE: Finley Bradon has been an ever-present for Leeds Knights this season, when not away on GB Under-20 international duty. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
ALWAYS THERE: Finley Bradon has been an ever-present for Leeds Knights this season, when not away on GB Under-20 international duty. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Again, aside from international duty - this time with the GB Under-20s in Dumfries shortly before Christmas - Bradon, now 18, has been an ever-present for the Knights as they swept to a second straight regular season league title.

Another play-off crown would do just nicely, says Bradon.

“I was in Serbia with GB when the play-offs were on last year, but I came back for the last day and I got a shift in the final, which was great,” said Bradon, who was on a two-way deal with boyhood club Billingham Stars in 2022-23 before switching fully to Leeds last summer.

“There is a desire in the room to go and do back-to-back doubles.

BIG MONTH AHEAD: Leeds Knights' Finley Bradon is hoping to help Leeds Knights retain their NIHL National play-off crown. Picture: Tony JohnsonBIG MONTH AHEAD: Leeds Knights' Finley Bradon is hoping to help Leeds Knights retain their NIHL National play-off crown. Picture: Tony Johnson
BIG MONTH AHEAD: Leeds Knights' Finley Bradon is hoping to help Leeds Knights retain their NIHL National play-off crown. Picture: Tony Johnson
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“For a lot of us, I think there was even some doubt among people in the room, especially at the start of the year, about whether we could win the league again.

“But we know this is a group that is going all out for the win at any cost, we’ve proved that enough times this season.

“It’s about getting the job done and winning the league for a second time has given us even more confidence which we can carry with us into the play-offs.

“When we're confident, we're a good team.”

Following last night’s home game against Solway Sharks, the Knights close out their regular season on the road at Hull Seahawks tomorrow (face-off 5.30pm).

The Yorkshire rivals are both in play-off Group A and will face each other again next weekend home and away, the first game being in Leeds on Friday (7.30pm).