The frustrations brought about by the off-ice issues which hampered preparations both before and during the season, played a huge part in the Chiefs’ ending their inaugural campaign bottom of the standings.
But there were still plenty of occasions when Sam Zajac’s team showed they could hold their own in the UK’s second tier and, with a roster he believes will be younger and faster, Billingham-born Baldwin is optimistic about the team’s chances second time out.
“There was never any doubt about me wanting to come back,” said the defenceman. “It’s just a good set-up there. I really believe we’ve got something to prove next year, because we certainly didn’t have the best of starts.
“We want to come back and prove that we can be a better team and compete every single night.”
Baldwin, 21, finished last season as the team’s second-highest points scorer, posting 13 goals and 21 assists in 43 appearances.
The former Bradford Bulldogs junior was rightly pleased with his offensive contribution, particularly having been handed more and more responsibility as the season wore on.
“I got more ice time than I probably first thought I would,” added Baldwin. “I played a lot of minutes - both PP and PK - and I really enjoyed it.
“I was really pleased with how that offensive side of my game developed. I know I’ve got a decent shot and if you put me the right spot I’m probably going to score.
“I also learnt a lot defensively from the more experienced guys such as Boother (Luke Boothroyd) and Sammy (Sam Zajac), as well as Gossy (Sam Gospel) in goal.”
“Gossy is a great person to have on the team, not just because of his goaltending ability, but because of the way he communicates with the players in front of him.
“If you’re doing something wrong, don’t worry he will shout at you, he’ll throw his stick at you, but it’s brilliant for a defenceman because he sees the whole game stood behind us all,
“He can see what is going on and can shout at us to guide us where to go, it is just great to have him on the team.”
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Thank you, Laura Collins