Bees add youth and experience

Head Coach of the Bracknell Bees Doug Sheppard starts the week leading up to pre-season with the announcement of three additions to his squad.

Luke Jackson and Will Stead will both be joining the Bees on two-way contracts with the Bracknell Hornets while Greg Blais will be joining the netminding team.

20 year old Luke was born in Reading and played his junior hockey at Bracknell and Guildford. After 2 seasons at Guildford playing Under 16s Luke moved to Bracknell Stingers in 2013/14 played 15 games, returning 12 points. He also made an appearance for Bracknell Drones at Under 18s.

He played another season at Bracknell before two spent in Canada with the Ontario Hockey Academy where he made 99 starts. In his second season he was called up to GB Under 18s.

In 2017/18 he returned to Bracknell and played 29 games for the Bees in their inaugural NIHL1 season. The following year he split between the Bees, Hornets and Stingers at Under 20 level.

This year Luke is back with the Hornets and will also train with and play for the Bees when available.

The second Hornet to sign a two way agreement is Will Stead. Also 20 and also born in Reading Will will line up with his brother Harvey for the Bees when available this season.

Will’s hockey history is Bracknell through and through playing his way through the development system before making his debut for the Hornets in 2014/15 scoring his first senior assist in 23 appearances which fitted alongside 25 points returned from 17 Under 18 games with the Drones.

Will made a single Bees appearance in 2015/16 scoring an assist alongside playing for the Hornets and Drones. The following season he played solely for the Hornets and in 2017/18 Will represented the Bees eight times in their first NIHL1 campaign along with 7+28 from 18 Hornets games. Last season he posted an impressive 10+25 with the Hornets prompting his return this season.

The third player to be added to the line up is netminder Greg Blais. The 39 year old goalie boasts an impressive record both in his native Canada and in Europe. Bees fans would have probably last seen him in his season with Telford in 2011/12 when he made 14 appearances for the Tigers. Since then he’s gone on to backstop Hull Stingrays, Cardiff Devils and Fife Flyers in the Elite League together with a single appearance for the Peterborough Phantoms in 2014/15.

Greg’s addition to the goaltending team comes with the announcement that Adam Goss will be training with Manchester Storm of the Elite League. Last season Adam played and trained with the Milton Keynes Lightning in their last Elite League season and he lives in the Midlands. This opportunity for him to train with the Storm is good for him and for the Bees and that together with Greg’s addition to the team plus Danny Milton greatly strengthens our netminding options.

Doug Sheppard explained the three additions to his team; “Both Luke and Wills are promising young prospects. They’ll be training full time with the Bees and be given a great opportunity in the preseason games and Greg will add experience to our very young roster.

Luke Jackson stands at 6’1, weighs 201lbs and shoots right handed. Will Stead is also 6’1, weighs 161lbs and also shoot right handed. Greg Blais stands at 5’11, weighs 174lbs and catches left handed.

Tickets for pre-season, which starts this weekend can be bought by telephone to 01344 789000 or calling in person at the Hive. Online ticket sales are expected to be available for the start of the regular season.

Building up to the 21st September Bees will play Swindon away on 7th September and at home on the 8th September. The following weekend Bees play Raiders at home on Saturday and at Romford on Sunday. A reminder to all supporters of our new face off times for this season of 6.15pm for Saturdays and 5.30pm for Sundays. Away supporters are reminded they should book tickets for block 4.