John Russell believes that the Scottish National League (SNL) can look forward to a bright future after adding two new teams to its ranks this summer.
Solway Sharks and Belfast Giants SNL have joined the league, taking the number of teams up to ten for the upcoming season.
The experienced netminder will ice for North Ayrshire Wild this term, having spent the last two years with Paisley Pirates.
He says he is looking forward to the new campaign and is eagerly anticipating a possible head-to-head meeting with a family member.
“You can see with all the PR this off-season that there is a buzz about the league,” he said.
“I’m delighted that Solway are playing in the league – they must be the team to beat and maybe you will see a Russell versus Russell match-up at some point with my brother Gary signing a two-way deal to play with the Sharks.
“I think I’ll give my dad something orange and black to wear for the games, as we have never played with or against each other in our hockey lives!”
Increased media exposure has improved the profile of the SNL over the past couple of years, and the addition of Solway and Belfast will undoubtedly help to boost it moving forward.
Russell is eager to play his part in helping the league develop even further and insists that fans have plenty to look forward to in the future.
“You have Murrayfield Racers who have made the league instantly better with a great group of fans, staff and players,” he added.
“Dundee Comets seem to sign a great player each week, while Aberdeen Lynx away with their full houses and brilliant fans is an occasion I always enjoy.
“Dundee Tigers have also made great signings and Paisley Pirates will always be near the top of the league with such a great structured club.
“I feel the addition of Belfast will also benefit the league, especially if they are allowed to play home games after this season.”
(Image permission: Duncan Speirs)