Sam Oakford back with Panthers
Young defenceman Sam Oakford has been confirmed as returning to the Panthers line-up for season 2016-17. Sam is very much part of the club’s plans for the future and head coach Corey Neilson says he’s very pleased to have him on board. Neilson told the website: “The Elite League gets more competitive every year and teams need to have depth on the bench. I have spoken at length with Sam and he knows he will have to fight for every minute of ice time once more. “He made great strides last season and more than played his part in helping the team win two trophies not least when he allowed some of the so-called bigger names a chance to enjoy longer breaks on the bench during matches. “It’ll be tough for him but he is relishing the challenge as he aims to continue to establish himself at the highest level. “He ended last season as a winning member of Panthers’ roster and he starts the new campaign as a valuable part of the new roster too.” Sam’s progress last season saw him gain recognition from the Great Britain senior squad being named in the “long list” for the World Championships and although he just missed out on a trip to the event itself the progress he had made with the Panthers gave him a taste of international hockey and he wants more.