New beginnings for the Bees

The TSI World Bees Ice Hockey Club are delighted to announce their new home as the Slough Ice Arena, following extremely positive discussions with Everyone Active, Slough Borough Council, the Slough Jets Ice Hockey Club and the Nike family.

After the sad recent closure of the John Nike Leisuresport Complex, the Bees have moved quickly to ensure that the club’s legacy lives on, whilst maintaining Tier 2 senior men’s ice hockey in Berkshire. The Bees look forward to competing again soon in the NIHL National Division and forming links with the Slough Jets and the Slough Junior Programme to give a strong development pathway for young players.

Bees Head Coach Doug Sheppard explained; “It was devastating news when the announcement came that the Hive was closing. It was a nervous time for us as an ice hockey team having no ice. Our thoughts, however, very much remain with the staff affected by the closure and wish them well in securing future employment.

We sat down and considered our options and have had some very upbeat discussions regarding our move to Slough. We’d like to thank Everyone Active, Slough Borough Council and the Slough Jets for being nothing but positive and welcoming us with open arms. We’re now looking forward to working with the Slough Jets and the Slough Junior Jets and becoming a full part of the Slough Ice Hockey Community as well as proudly continuing our heritage of 33 seasons in Bracknell.

Speaking on behalf of the Slough Jets, Director of Operations Steve English said; “The Slough Jets would like to extend a welcome to the Bees to the Hangar. While, for a long time, the Jets and Bees were rivals we, like many in the hockey community, were saddened to hear the news of the Hive closing. We will work closely with the Bees to ensure success for both clubs at the Hangar. Given the ongoing situation with Covid-19, the opportunity for both clubs to use the Hangar ensures the ongoing success for the fantastic facility provided by Slough Borough Council and Everyone Active. We continue preparations for our 35th season in Slough and look forward to continuing to develop youngsters through our junior programme and provide them opportunities to step up into senior hockey with the Jets, whilst sharing our home with the Bees.

Jets Head Coach Lukas Smital added his thoughts; “Given my history with both clubs, I am delighted that the Bees can continue despite the closure of the Hive. Given our own recent experience with the temporary rink, I am pleased that the Bees have an opportunity to continue to play at the Hangar. I look forward to the opportunities we now have to work together off the ice to ensure growth and success for ice-hockey in the local community, continuing to build on the recent strong junior and senior development at the Jets. Ultimately, after a long lay off, I am pleased that both clubs can work together to ensure hockey continues at the Hangar and I am excited to begin our 35th season.”

Bees Director Stuart Robinson concluded “We’ve been really impressed with how encouraging Everyone Active, the Council and the Jets have been in helping the Bees survive. Among the positives, we believe we have a perfect platform to further grow our successful Schools and Community Outreach programmes, not only continuing in the Bracknell and Wokingham area, but also now expanding into Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead. We think we have an exciting future ahead, but now more than ever, we need the fantastic support of Bees fans and sponsors to keep with the club and cheer the guys on in our new home. I’d personally like to thank Doug for working so hard to get things sorted with this and Sue Nike for her enthusiastic support in seeing the club continue.”

We’ll be making further announcements soon as we look forward to getting our first season in Slough underway in conjunction with the EIHA and central government guidance.