With the start of the Spring Cup fast approaching Head Coach of the TSI World Bees Ice Hockey Club Doug Sheppard is keen to finally be able to announce further players who committed to the Bees for the current season.
At a time when we expected a full season Doug was busy behind the scenes recruiting players and we’re pleased to confirm that these players remain committed to the Bees and will be kitting up for the Spring Cup.
The first of the re-signings is Stuart Mogg who returns as Captain. 26 year old Stuart returns for a third season with the Bees. Starting in hockey as a forward Stuart switched to defence, quickly gaining recognition as one of the league’s top defenceman but he also retains his offensive instincts making him invaluable as both a solid defenceman who’s also more than capable of being part of our offensive play as well.
The next player to have inked out a deal last summer is Josh Smith. Born in Frimley, Josh represented Bracknell at Junior level, as well as the Hornets and the Bees at EPL level. In 2017/18 he signed to Basingstoke before returning with Doug Sheppard and accumulating 50 points over the last two campaigns. Josh has two GB Under 20 and at the age of 23 he continues to grow in experience year on year.
The third of the returning players is 25 year old Josh Martin. Josh also has his hockey roots in the Bracknell set up before playing in Surrey and Solent but in 2014/15 he was back in Bracknell and icing for the Hornets. He made his Bees debut a season later but would have to wait until 2017/18 to earn a full time spot on the Bees roster. Over the last three seasons Josh has scored 25 goals and 43 assists.
The final player to have previously committed for the 20/21 season, but as yet unannounced, is Will Stead. Will is the forward playing younger brother of defenceman Harvey but last season set about forging a reputation for himself, playing regular minutes and chipping in with 12 points. He’s a player who makes opponents know they’re in a battle despite being still only 22. With a full season unavailable to him Will is looking forward to getting stuck back in 11 months after last lacing up and picking up where he left off.
Doug Sheppard commented; “I’d originally done the deals with these four players in the hope we’d be playing a full season. As soon as the Spring Cup was announced I was delighted to confirm that all four will be playing.
“Stuart has established himself as one of the most reliable Dmen in the league. He reads the game very well, with a good understanding of when to take risks offensively and always makes the right decision on the defensive side of the puck. Josh Smith first impressed me a few years back and was an obvious guy to sign when I joined the Bees. Sometimes it’s easy to forget he’s only young, he has a huge amount of talent and I’m looking for him to take the next step as a player. Josh Martin is an under-rated player who thrives under added responsibility and was a valuable member of our team last season. Lastly, I’m looking forward to see how much Will Stead’s game can grow with an extended off-season. Once Will grows into his body and gets more explosive he could be very dangerous at this level.”
The Head Coach also has two further announcements to make of new blood joining the Bees from local rivals Basingstoke Bison.
Young gun Josh Kelly impressed over the last couple of seasons in Hampshire, particularly last season. He learned his hockey originally in Guildford before he joined the Okanagan Hockey Academy UK at Under 18 level which saw him guest for the Swindon Wildcats at NIHL2, and NIHL1 level.
In 2018/19 he signed for our local rivals, making 31 appearances and while he failed to register a point he made sure to make his presence felt on every shift he played. Returning in 2019/20 for the inaugural NIHL National Campaign the 20 year showed a more mature style of play which saw him return 7 points while still being a tough opponent.
At just 17 Bayley Harwood showed great potential last season in a full campaign for the Bison. He recorded 4+2 last season as well as a call up to Great Britain Under 18s. He was just 14 when he went to the Canadian International Academy having been spotted playing junior hockey in Cardiff. He’s an alert and skilled centreman with a burning ambition to keep on improving and play at the highest level he can.
Doug spoke of his new signings; “I’m delighted to get these two prospects on our roster and I look forward to working with them and watching them grow and develop. These two are talented and hungry to take the opportunity offered to them here with the Bees. Being young and hungry I’m sure they’ll hit the ice running when we get underway.”
With the Bees season starting in just over a week Doug will be making further exciting announcements of players who will also be representing the Bees in the upcoming Spring Cup.