Shropshire Star

Telford Tigers teenage hotshot Tom Byrne backed to crank up the heat

Head coach Tom Watkins is optimistic Telford Tigers hotshot Tom Byrne can deliver on his potential after committing to the club.


Forward Byrne, 19, will return for a second season in senior Tigers colours having agreed a deal for the upcoming NIHL National League campaign.

Byrne is a product of the Tigers academy having initially checked into the club from Deeside Dragons in Wales at under-15s level.

His breakthrough came last term where the bustling forward racked up 56 appearances and contributed nine points through seven assists and two goals.

Head coach and general manager Watkins said: “Tom is a real talent that matured a lot last season.

“He’s a highly-skilled kid, great hands and touch, couple that with his reach and size, with the right attitude which I believe he has along with the dedication required to getting stronger over a period of time I think he can be a very good player at this level.

“With his size and ability he will be able to protect the puck very well and we will be focusing on getting him to play more in the gritty areas, taking pucks hard to the net and being a handful to contain down low.

“He’s a young guy, very coachable and a good team-mate.”

Byrne represented Tigers at under-15s and under-18s level, where he enjoyed a couple of prolific seasons, as well as a brief youth spell with Coventry Blaze.

“This is where I want to play,” Byrne insisted. “I’m very happy to be back at this level and feel really excited for the season to start.

“Playing for Tigers again this year was always my goal so I’m delighted to get the chance.

“It was a big step up coming from juniors and Laidler Division level so I think it took time to adapt to the level of hockey and pace of the game.

“It’s always hard going up a level but I think over the season I got better.”

The teen added: “I felt like we, and I, sometimes lacked confidence and failed to play to our strengths, which resulted in a lower finish in the league than we expected. Next season I want to contribute more, scoring goals and putting up more points. Of course I want to see us winning more games and competing for trophies.”