The Blackburn HAWKS can confirm the departure of forward Sam Dunford and goaltender Stuart Ashton.

Ashton has featured for the Hawks for three consecutive seasons, having joined the team for the 2011/12 campaign. Dunford – who came up through the Blackburn Junior system – competed in his eighth season for the East Lancashire side last term, before stepping away from hockey commitments towards the end of the year.

Head Coach, Jared Owen, said: “Stu is an excellent young goalie who’s ready to play on a regular basis and he’s been unfortunate to find himself behind Dangie (Daniel Brittle), who is one of the top goaltenders in the league.

“Stu has a great attitude and always works hard, putting in solid performances for his club ever time he steps on the ice; none more so than when he stepped up in the second leg of the 2012/13 final against Billingham.

“We’ve seen excellent progress in his development during his time with the Hawks, and I know he will excel as a starter with his next team.

“Sam is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting through hockey. He gives his all for the team and is a very coachable player who always takes everything you say on board and channels it to positively help his team mates.

“Sam will be sorely missed by all at the Hawks, but we respect his decision for next season. He wants to play as much as he can but will benefit from a lighter schedule an opportunity to feature for his new team in a key role.”

Blackburn Hawks would like to thank both players for their efforts during their time with the club, and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

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