THE Blackburn Ice Hockey Development Association have rebranded their English National League Division Two side as the Blackburn Eagles in a quest to aid players’ progress to the Blackburn Hawks.

The team had played under the name of the Lancashire Raptors last season but there had been plans for some time for a rebranding to bring the side in line with the rest of the Blackburn Hawks umbrella.

Hawks enjoyed success in April when they reached the Division One play-off final and it is hoped that more local players can now be developed for their team.

There is already a Blackburn Junior Hawks side in place, while the Blackburn Eagles are a senior team that will be used as a stepping stone for players to reach the full Hawks squad. Opportunities to train with both senior teams will be given to junior players who possess the talent and attitude required to make further progress.

Coach Gary Buckman will be assisted by managed Joanne Gibson and Bob Alexander, and has held a series of trials to strengthen the existing team – drawing players from across the north west.

Meanwhile, Blackburn Hawks have fended off a number of other clubs to sign Great Britain under 18 international Myles Dacres from Bradford Bulldogs.

Coach Jared Owen said: “He is a very talented hockey player.”