New (Old) Faces at the Helm!
ULTIMATE WINDOWS-sponsored Billingham Stars this evening make their first announcement of the summer as they reveal a new coaching line-up for season 2019-2020... and the 'return' of two very familiar faces.
The coaching mantle for the coming campaign will be a double act, as Michael Bowman returns to his Player/Coach role alongside Bombers and Stars favourite Stephen Foster. Foster makes his comeback after seven years away from the Billingham bench having coached the inaugural Stars side of 2011-2012 to League and Play-Off success. Older North East hockey fans will also remember Foster as a hugely talented netminder who came up through the Durham junior ranks before making his senior debut for Cleveland Bombers aged just 15. Returning to Durham three seasons later until the club ceased to exist, Foster had spells with Newcastle, Ayr, Basingstoke and Hull, also representing his country at both junior and senior levels. Foster had a season as Head Coach of the Northern Stars before he became a part of the merged Northern Stars/Billingham Bombers in 2011 and led the new Billingham Stars to their first - and to date only - League title under the Stars banner. That success was capped with a memorable play-off victory several weeks later - a bar that the Stars sides that followed have not quite reached.
Michael Bowman will once again take on the dual role of Player/Coach, a position he last assumed two seasons ago. A hard-working centre who has the cool head to handle the pressures of coaching alongside his on-ice duties, Bowman put 14 points up last year whilst often acting as a line mentor to some of the younger members of the squad. 'Bomber' spoke to Stars Media on the eve of his unveiling as part of this year's coaching team:
"I will continue to play this coming season, I still feel I have a lot to give the team on the ice. I enjoyed just playing last season but I missed the coaching side, so when the management asked if I would be part of the coaching team I was happy to accept.
Last season was tough but I think the last two seasons against the old EPL teams have shown us the intensity and consistency we need to play at to succeed. I personally think we have a great core of players with some talented young players - I’d like to keep as many of those as we can and bring in two quality imports to help continue their development.
I think the League will be more of a level playing field this time around and if we can get the signings that we want it could be a great one. Obviously silverware is our ultimate goal and we’d love to bring some home to our amazing fans. It’s tough to say exactly what needs to change to achieve our aims but we need to have a more professional approach from top to bottom.
I am looking forward to working with Fozzy this season - he has a great passion for hockey and also the Stars organisation. He was a big factor in why I signed here when I moved back home. When we were teammates, MANY years ago, he was a true professional and I’m sure he will expect that from his players going forward."
Terry Ward will continue to oversee operations as Director of Coaching.
Please join us in welcoming our new coaching duo to the helm - Stars Media will get the thoughts of Stephen Foster in the weeks to come as the Stars begin to unveil their new squad to challenge for honours in 2019-2020.