Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

If You Want to See a Team Put Up a Fight - and Win - Come Watch Us; Warriors' Legend Payette's Message to Fans

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

If You Want to See a Team Put Up a Fight - and Win - Come Watch Us; Warriors' Legend Payette's Message to Fans

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Ryder Chief Sports Writer twitter: @lee_ryder

ANDRE Payette believes he and table-topping Whitley Warriors can finally offer the North East a team prepared to sweat blood for the cause - sometimes quite literally.

The Newcastle Vipers legend is back on Tyneside and, alongside another ice hockey icon David Longstaff, has helped the Warriors to the top of the table in the NIHL N1 Moralee Conference.

The Warriors face Blackburn Hawks on Sunday night and Payette hopes he and his team-mates can capture the imagination of the fans by bringing the Lancashire side's two-year unbeaten run to an end.

The Warriors have been enjoying crowds of around the 1,000-mark this season after one of their most famous players returned in the shape of Longstaff as player/coach.

Payette told the Chronicle: "We are a team in the North East who are winning games and, importantly, showing some fight.

"We are getting crowds through the door and the buzz is back around ice hockey in the area."

Payette returned to Tyneside this summer after being offered a player and mentor role with Whitley's young team.

He added: "It is a dream come true to be back in the North East for me.

"I have roots here and had some of the best days in my life.

"It has been great to be part of a North East team showing a lot of fight.

"We are battling for every point. "People in this area need to come and see a team like us who are putting everything on the line every night.

"They are doing it for Whitley Warriors fans."

Payette scored in the Elite League final play-offs for Newcastle Vipers before the team folded in 2011.

However, Payette and Longstaff are rolling back the years in a region which once boasted two of the best teams in Britain, Whitley and Durham Wasps.

Payette said: "It has been great to see so many fans and old faces from the Newcastle Vipers era. …

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