In Town Tonight – Bees IHC

The visitors tonight are the Wildcats long time M4 rivals, Bees IHC, formerly known as the Bracknell Bees. During the Covid-19 pandemic the John Nike Leisure Centre was sadly closed and this left the Bees with a choice, thankfully for the rest of the NIHL and British ice hockey they have relocated to play out of Slough and rebranded themselves as Bees IHC.

The Bees are once more led by head coach Doug Sheppard who is returning for his 3rd consecutive season and the roster he’s assembled is young and hungry and should give the Bees a good chance of achieving their goals this season.

In net the Bees have re-signed the goalie who served them well in the last NIHL season completed in 2019-20, Adam Goss is back between the pipes and his experience as a starter for the last season will only make him a better player and big things are expected in the upcoming year. He is backed up by another very promising year netminder in the shape of Curtis Warburton, he played last season for the Sheffield Steeldogs and has been involved with the Steelers as well.

One of the key returnees for the Bees is import forward Dominik Gabaj, the Slovak forward signed for the Bees halfway through the previous season and was an instant hit. He now returns for his first full year with the Bees and if he’s able to continue that form he will be one of the best players in the entire league. Joining him as the second import is Swedish forward Niklas Sandberg Ornmarker, he has played the majority of his hockey in his native land and while not a prolific point scorer he is very young and could easily improve to become a top player for the Bees.

The defence is a very young group which will benefit the Bees in youthful energy and exuberance, but the lack of experience is a worry. The group are led by team captain Stuart Mogg who is back in Bees colours for his 3rd consecutive year and joining him is former Wildcat Harvey Stead who once more signs on for the Bees, these two players are the oldest defenceman at only 27 and 25 respectively. To complete the group the above two are joined by young trio Edward Bradley, Luke Jackson and Josh Kelly.

The British forwards will be led by a veteran presence in the form of James Galazzi, he has been an ever present for the Bees, this will be his 11th straight year as a Bee and he has played in Bracknell every season of his senior hockey career. Galazzi’s experience will be vital for the young forwards that make up the majority of the Bees attackers this season. Josh Martin and Ryan Webb are the other two experienced heads who join Galazzi, Martin came up through the Guildford junior system and since then has spent his senior career between the Hornets and the Bees. Webb was a Bracknell junior but spent his senior career playing at numerous clubs around the south of England before joining back up with the Bees last season.

The remainder of the forwards are bolstered by a series of promising youngsters including Juha Lindgren, Bayley Harewood and Michael Power.