This weekend in pre-season it’s another challenge series for the Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees with the opponents this weekend being Raiders Ice Hockey Club.
The former London Raiders moved back to Romford towards the end of last season and after a successful homecoming seeing them finish 4th in the first season of the “new era” of NIHL1 Coach Sean Easton moved to further strengthen his team over the summer.
18/19 import slots are taken by Juraj Huska and Martin Jakubek coming in. The two forwards were joined by big name Brit signings Aaron Connolly and Dan Scott who are no strangers to the EPL before going on to have stand out seasons in their inaugural NIHL1 campaign last season.
Other departures made way for the incoming Ben Clemments, Mason Webster, Brendon Webster and Liam Chong.
Along with the new comers Easton has retained a lot of the team that enjoyed a fourth place finish in the league as well as a play off journey that lasted through to the conference semi-final. Familiar faces within the Raiders icing again this season include Blahoslav Novak, JJ Pitchley, Brandon Ayliffe and John Connolly.
With their home coming complete the challenge for the Raiders now is to build upon a good season last year and blend in the new players into the retained nucleus.
The Bees will welcome back Harvey Stead, Josh Martin and Ryan Sutton from their midweek guest appearances with the Coventry Blaze. Head Coach Doug Sheppard will be working on the good start last weekend and continuing to get his team to grips with the new rule changes this year.
Doug explained; “The Raiders look like a much improved team with the aquisitions they have made over the summer. This will be another great test for us. We need to build on the positives from last weekend and certainly cut down on the number of penalties we took. The new rules played a big part in the amount of penalties we received but we need to adjust quickly. We want to be a fast physical team with a relentless work ethic but find a way to stay out the box.”
The Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees travel to Sapphire Ice on Saturday for a 5.15 face off and entertain the Raiders at the Hive on Sunday. Sunday’s game is a 6pm face-off and it’s Kids for a Quid too!