We’ve got some big games com­ing up

Fea­tured in the pa­per ev­ery Thurs­day, Brack­nell Bees head coach Doug Shep­pard gives his lat­est views on Brack­nell’s sea­son on and off the ice in an ex­clu­sive col­umn.

The Wokingham Paper - - SPORT - With Bees coach Doug Shep­pard

LAST WEEK­END was our first with­out a hockey game on home ice for the Bees. We used this op­por­tu­nity to open our Hockey shop all day Satur­day to in­tro­duce our new range of ice skat­ing equip­ment.

Nor­mally the shop is very busy on match­days, es­pe­cially as fans come in to look at shirts and other items of cloth­ing. Now they can also choose from a range of skat­ing equip­ment.

As more peo­ple, of all ages, are com­ing to the Hive at the week­end to watch hockey, they are re­al­is­ing how much fun can be had on the ice.

We’re also get­ting in­creas­ing num­bers of sup­port­ers at­tend­ing our away games. They saw us win against In­victa on Sun­day to re­tain our po­si­tion at the top of the league. We’ve some big games com­ing up now, home and away, and we’re look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of or­gan­is­ing coaches for fans want­ing to at­tend away fixtures.

Hockey is a fast and phys­i­cally de­mand­ing sport. The guys get en­ergy from the sup­port they hear dur­ing a game. With the School Zone open this week­end again, we know there’ll be a great at­mos­phere in the rink when we play Streatham. Then on Sun­day we travel to Peter­bor­ough, so far un­beaten this sea­son.

Some of you read­ing this will have had an evening out in the Blues Smoke­house this week, en­joy­ing the food and be­ing served by the play­ers. Thank you for at­tend­ing this event, the first of a num­ber this sea­son to raise money for the Young Epilepsy char­ity.

In mem­ory of the young Slo­vak player, David Gabor­cik, who was Brack­nell’s Player of the Year in 2016-17, and who died trag­i­cally in France this month, we will ob­serve a minute’s si­lence be­fore Satur­day’s game.

Our cur­rent player and his for­mer team-mate Josh Smith had this to say about him: “Any­one who knew David knew what a nice and gen­uine per­son he was.

“No­body would have a bad word to say about him. He had a smile which lit up the room.

“If you were ever down, David would be there to crack a joke and give you a good laugh. He al­ways played the game with a smile. He had an at­ti­tude where he would al­ways put the team be­fore him­self.

“That trans­ferred into how he was in ev­ery­day life, al­ways car­ing about oth­ers more than him­self.

“He will leave an ev­er­last­ing ef­fect on ev­ery­one who knew him and ever spoke to him.”

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