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Ice hockey: Deeside Dragons get season under way with back-to-back victories

STEVE Fellows scored the Deeside Dragons first goal in the National Ice Hockey League North Two as his side secured back-to-back wins on opening weekend.

As the Flintshire Freeze, the county’s ice hockey club had been in the doldrums in recent years, missing out time and again on promotion.

But player-coach Fellows has led a rebirth, rebranding the club under its original name, transforming Deeside Ice Rink into the Dragons’ Den and bringing in high-calibre players from higher divisions to build what he hopes will be a formidable side.

Last weekend was their first test, as they travelled to Blackburn Eagles, the second string side of North One side Blackburn Hawks, where Fellows picked up a number of players in the summer.

They had the perfect start, winning 9-0 as Fellows opened the scoring and put his name alongside the original first goalscorer for the Dragons, Keith Parsons, the father of current Dragon James Parsons.

And it got better when the Dragons’ Den opened its doors on Sunday.

A thrilling 7-2 victory was watched by around 500 fans, one of the biggest crowds ice hockey in Flintshire has drawn for some time.

“It was a fantastic start to life as the Dragons,” said Fellows. “We had no warm-up games and so some of the lads were playing in a match together for the first time.

“There were things we could improve on and we will, but we played some really good hockey and we are only going to get better.

“We had a bit of a sweep going on who would be first goalscorer and us defence guys were winding up the forwards saying one of us would get it so when I got it I was made up!

“But the best thing was the crowd. Some of the players were a little nervy in front of so many fans but we put on an exciting show and hopefully the crowds will grow.”

This weekend Solihull Barons enter the Dragon’s Den on Sunday.

Led by player-coach Chris Allen, who briefly played in the NHL for Florida Panthers in the late 90s, Solihull are alongside the Dragons as favourites to win the league.

“It will be tough against a side I expect to be up there all season,” said Fellows. “We have Parsons returning and we will work on some areas in training so I hope we can get what could be a crucial victory.”