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GB squad call leaves young Luke feeling just so puck-er! Club hails starlet's selection in-line puck hockey.

Byline: MATT MILLINGTON

THE Northumberland Knights believe the future of the North East in-line puck hockey side lies on the shoulders of Great Britain recruit Luke Whittingham.

Assistant captain James Waller thinks Whittingham has the potential to 'carry the Knights into the next generation' after the teenager made the national under-16 squad - despite 12 weeks out through injury.

Staffordshire-based Whittingham joined the Knights ahead of their latest British Inline Puck Hockey Association North East Viking B League campaign in September.

However, he suffered a blow when he broke his wrist before their first match.

After three months in a cast, Whittingham managed to attend the final GB trial in late December and was shocked to hear he was successful.

He said: "After my injury I was not expecting it at all. I was speechless."

With the Junior Olympics and World Championships in the teenager's sights, Waller is confident Whittingham's experience will only serve to benefit the Knights in the years to come.

He said: "Playing for GB will bring more depth to Luke's game and help him progress massively.

"This is great for us because we see Luke as the future of the club.

"We want him leading our team and scoring the goals."

The Knights top the league and are yet to be beaten this campaign.

Despite this, the assistant captain knows if the team is to carry on its success the juniors need to move forward.

Walller added: "We hope to develop a junior team.

"Luke is well-known in the game and we believe he will help attract younger players and begin to heighten the sport in the North East."

Inline hockey is known to be more popular in the Midlands. with the Knights having to travel to Rotherham to play all their matches.

This has made it possible for Whittingham to join up with the Newbiggin-based club despite the distance - as well as play for his local junior side Team Blackhawks.

In a competitive senior league, Waller believes playing for the Knights can also help Whittingham: He said: "This senior league is full of quality players, so all the experience he gets with us will help.

"Our team is fully behind him. We want Luke to do well and the lads will give him their support."

CAPTION(S):

TOP TEAM The unbeaten Newcastle Knights in-line puck hockey squad (left)

LUKE WHO'S CALLED UP New GB star Luke Whittingham of Newcastle Knights
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 27, 2013
Words:404
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