Why Leeds Knights netminder Sam Gospel appreciates what is in front of him

FOR Leeds Knights fans, Christmas has already come early in recent weeks - twice.

As if news that captain Kieran Brown had extended his contract through until the summer of 2025 wasn’t good enough, confirmation earlier this week that netminder Sam Gospel had done the same was more than the team’s fans could have wished for.

For Gospel, too, his new deal is like opening an early Christmas present.

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“In all honesty, there was nowhere else I want to go, I knew I wanted to come back,” said Gospel. “It’s a place where we get treated really, really well and we just keep growing as a team. I’m very keen to be a part of everything going forward - I’m ecstatic.”

TOP STOPPER: Leeds Knights' No 1 netminder, Sam Gospel. Picture: Jacob Lowe.TOP STOPPER: Leeds Knights' No 1 netminder, Sam Gospel. Picture: Jacob Lowe.
TOP STOPPER: Leeds Knights' No 1 netminder, Sam Gospel. Picture: Jacob Lowe.

Gospel’s feelings are mirrored in the stands and behind the bench.

“He wants to be here, he wants to be a Leeds Knights player,” said head coach Ryan Aldridge.

“We want him here for as long as possible and what we are about is winning as a group and his wins contribute to us as a group. I really couldn’t wish for a better goalie or person to have here.”

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For both team and goalie, the numbers stack up - on and off the ice.


Widely regarded as the best goalie in NIHL National, Gospel has been consistency personified during the first two full seasons of the Knights, leading the way in both save percentage and Goals Against Average (GAA).

It is why he is so highly-prized by owner Steve Nell, Aldridge and every single one of his team-mates.

This season, he is top in both categories again, with the Knights boasting the best defensive record by far, conceding just 49 goals in 20 games. The next stingiest defence is to the east at Hull Seahawks, who have allowed 68 goals on them in 19 games.

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But Gospel is quick to highlight the role played by those in front of him.

“So far this season, I’m exactly where I want to be,” added the 29-year-old.

“Obviously there are games where I would have liked to have done better but, as a whole, in terms of my performances, I’m performing where I should be in my opinion.

“Our goals against is down to the whole group. It’s about team defence, it’s not just about me stopping pucks – it’s something I really appreciate.”