Predators made it all the way to the final at St George’s Park in Burton-upon-Trent last weekend before losing to the London Great White Sharks.
Predators captain Kaspars Maksimovs said: “I am so proud of my whole team showing their fighting spirit and sticking to the plan from beginning till the end.
“I am overwhelmed by the performance of every player and again I need to praise our first goalie Ian Haircourt-Smith for his amazing game. Without him we would not be where we are now.”
After winning their two group stage games against Aberdeen Oilers (5-2) and Cotswolds-based Rhinos (12-3), Predators progressed to a semi-final against London Crusaders.
Crusaders were 22 points above them in the South Division table during the regular season and Predators hadn’t won any of the teams’ previous three meetings, but on this occasion Predators took a 4-3 win with a patient and determined performance.
“When your team knows what they are facing and are hungry for victory, they will do anything to make it happen,” said Maksimovs. “One of the best games this year for us.
“As I quite often say, we can learn from every game how to be better next time and three losses in one season has definitely taught us the hard way how to play against Crusaders.”
Predators then came back from 3-1 down to level at 3-3 in the final before 2015 champions London Great White Sharks pulled clear to win 6-3.
Despite the loss in the final, the event was a huge success for Hastings, who were in the season-ending finals for the third time. They previously placed sixth and seventh.
“We were happy to be part of 12 best teams in the UK, but now it also shows that with hard work and willpower, we can always pull a trick or two for our opponents and make them run for their money,” Maksimovs said.
What makes the achievement even more valuable is overcoming the difficulties and inconsistencies Predators had in their game during the regular season. When it really mattered, every piece of the puzzle fell into place.
Predators will still have a final training session before a celebration and a summer break.
Maksimovs said: “The next task will be to find a suitable summer tournament for August time and start training then for next season.
“With our club growing every year, we are hoping to enter second team in the division below us to train new players and allow younger players to gain experience.”
The club would like to thank its sponsors, Dymanic Scaffolding and TENN Outdoors, for their ongoing support.