Shropshire Star

Hot-shot James Smith agrees to extend his stay at Telford Tigers

Fans' favourite James Smith has agreed a deal with Telford Tigers 2 for the new season.


Scottish forward Smith, 29, continues his association with Tigers' Laidler outfit having first turned out for the side a decade ago in the 2013/14 campaign.

Smith, who hails from Dundee, is no stranger to finding the net with Tigers 2 and still holds the all-time NIHL 2 record for the most assists, with 53, and 56 goals scored, both during the 2014/15 season.

It had been a tougher more recent spell for the forward, who returned this season after a stint at Solihull Barons, but saw last season's campaign frustratingly broken up by injury and subsequent knee surgery. Smith, though, was able to return before the season's end and was on target as Scott McKenzie's side soared to play-off success in April to seal a league and cup double.

Smith opened up on a tough 12 months personally on the ice as he said: “It was a difficult recovery. It was very long and frustrating, especially when I came to watch home games at the rink.

“But coming back last season, especially after surgery, was great to lift some silverware in front of our loud fans.”

He added: "It's a good feeling to be back for my ninth year since I've come to Telford its become my second home.

“We played some real nice hockey as a line. Me and Karol (Jets) have played together a lot and always had a good connection on the ice and Paul (Davies) has fitted in very well.

“I see myself as being a leader in the team and to pass on the experience to the younger players while also performing to a high standard.”

Head coach McKenzie, the Tigers first-team favourite, has been busy agreeing fresh terms with other members of the squad that helped bring success in 2022/23.

Another popular long-serving squad member Callum Griffin, who is also a 29-year-old forward, has also committed for the new season.

Griffin is an academy graduate who progressed through the ranks and has played senior hockey for a decade. He scored 14 goals and assisted a further 20 times in 23 games last term.

He returns for the upcoming campaign alongside defenceman Connor Keyes, who will pick up the assistant captain role alongside Ben Washburn.

Keyes, 28, came through the ranks at Solihull before appearing in NIHL for Coventry Blaze. He checked into Telford early in the 2017/18 season and played 26 times for Tigers 2 last term.