Head Coach of the TSI World Bees Ice Hockey has made moves to strengthen his squad further for the upcoming Spring Cup series by securing deals with a number of guest players who will wear the black, white and gold for this competition.
The first of these is Guildford Flames left shooting forward Josh Waller. The 21 year old was born in Reading and started out in hockey at the Hive before moving to Guildford’s junior programme in 2011/12. After a couple of seasons, he returned to Berkshire and made his senior debut in 2015/16 with a single EPL game for the Bees and a season with the Hornets.
In 2016/17 Josh moved to IHC Pisek to play Czech under 18 and also made his first 5 appearances for GB Under 18s. Staying in Czech he played the next season with HC Dukla Jihlava U20 adding 5 further appearances for his country, this time in the Under 20 competition. A return to the UK followed for 2018/19 as he began his spell with the Elite League Guildford Flames.
The next to pledge their services is Hull born Bobby Chamberlain. Learning his hockey in the Kingston junior programme he topped out his junior hockey with spells in Canada and the USA while also representing Great Britain at under 18. In 2013/14 Bobby returned to these shores and completed the season with Hull Stingrays in the Elite League, the same season making his GB Under 20 debut.
Bobby set about establishing himself as a free scoring EPIHL forward with spells for Manchester and Milton Keynes. In 2017/18 he started a three year stint with Hull Pirates tearing up the league with his prolific scoring, recording over 100 points in just 28 games in 2018/19. Bobby has signed to the Milton Keynes Lightning for 20/21 but became available for the Spring Cup.
The next guest player added to the roster will need no introduction to Bees fans as Doug Sheppard has brought in Vanya Antonov. Born in Russia, but English qualified, Vanya learned his hockey in Bracknell, completing all the age groups and made his EPL debut for the Bees in 2013/14. He’s represented Great Britain at both Under 18 and Under 20 level.
Two full seasons with the Bees brought him to the attention of Doug Sheppard, then at the Bison, and Vanya was part of two successful teams in Basingstoke scoring at well over a point per game in both seasons. In 2018/19 he returned to the Bees returning 15+33 as the Bees completed their most successful season in a decade. Last season Vanya decided to step back from the demands of NIHL National Hockey and scored 65 points for Streatham in NIHL1 South while making 7 guest appearances for the Bees also. Returning to Streatham for this season with the London club yet to get going Vanya agreed to represent the Bees in the upcoming Spring Cup.
Doug has also inked a deal to bring in Belfast Giants forward Lewis Hook. Lewis’ name will be well known to Bees fans as he lined up against the Bees for both Phantoms and Lightning in the EPL. He was quickly identified as a talent in his junior time in Peterborough and went on to represent his country at both Under 18 and Under 20 level. He first pulled on the Phantoms shirt in 2012/13 returning 8+10 in his debut opening season. A second Phantoms season would follow before crossing over to rivals Milton Keynes Lightning for three years in the EPL, his points returns increasing each season.
He made the move to the Elite League with the Lightning before joining Belfast Giants scoring 9+28 in his two seasons to date. With such an impressive record behind him, it’s easy to forget he’s still only 24 years old!
The final player to guest for the Bees for this cup will be Ciaran Long. It seems so long ago now that Ciaran first appeared in senior hockey, making his debut with his home town Swindon Wildcats in 2005/06. Four further seasons followed from the Link Centre for this promising forward and in 2008/09 he played for Great Britain netting 6+5 at the Under 18 tournament and 4+1 in the Under 20 tournament.
His breakout season came in 2009/10 when he first signed to Slough Jets in the EPL and returned 19+20. His first spell in Basingstoke was the following season before two years with the Manchester Phoenix. A half season back in Slough followed before returning to Basingstoke and scoring 60 points combined across the two clubs. Ciaran remained in Basingstoke, establishing himself as one of the league’s premier Brit forwards with returns of 64, 63 and 65 points per season. With the EPL folding at the end of 2016/17 Ciaran took the jump to the Elite League, signing for Manchester Storm, finishing his second season with 25+35 from 60 games and ending the season as the league’s top Brit point scorer. Last season he played alongside Lewis Hook at Belfast.
With a fist full of guest signings complete Head Coach Doug Sheppard enthused; “I’m really glad we’re able to make room for all these guys. With Ciaran, Lewis and Josh all invited to GB camp – the extra ice time will be invaluable as they prepare for the World Championships.
We all know the skills and attributes that Vanya and Bobby bring making them two great additions to complete the roster.”