Paul Fitzpatrick has paid tribute to the Devils’ supporters after his team’s remarkable title-winning season.
Fans turned out in force once again at the weekend to welcome the newly-crowned champions back to the Gosport ice rink for a homecoming party.
And driven on by this magnificent support, the hosts stormed to a 9-3 victory over Wightlink Tigers.
Fitzpatrick said: ‘The support we’ve had all season has been tremendous and hats off to them for backing us all the way to the title.
‘The players really wanted to get a win for our home supporters on the night we picked up the trophy – and they did.
‘It makes us proud to see all these people supporting us and we owe as much to them as we do the players on the ice. This place can become a fortress for us with that support.
‘The interest in ice hockey in the region is growing because of the success we’ve had and we’re getting more and more people coming through the ranks now, which is good for the future.
‘It’s been a massive team effort from the players, coaches and fans, so onwards and upwards.’
Fitzpatrick urged the Devils’ fans to continue backing the team in division one next season and also emphasised the need for greater financial backing to allow the club to compete at the higher level.
‘We’re looking for sponsors now to support us and help us compete at that level,’ he added.
‘We’ll need that financial help because there is a big gap between us and the league above.
‘A lot of the players there are semi-pro, while these guys pay a subscription to play.
‘And there’s going to be twice as much travelling involved next year because they’ll be playing twice each weekend instead of once.
‘I’m looking forward to the challenge, though. This is something we’ve been working towards for the past five years, so we can’t wait to have a go.
‘We start next season at the end of August, so we’ll be very busy during the summer looking for sponsors and scouting for new players.’
POWER PLAY n
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