Cox: Ex-Hornets will add some sting to Bracknell Bees
July 28, 2010
Gareth Cox’s decision to bring six Bracknell Hornets players with him to Bracknell Bees had nothing to do with sentimentality, according to the new head coach.
James Galazzi, Tom Avery, Ben Duggan, Ben Johnson, Alex Barker and Craig Tribe will all make the transition from the ENL to the EPL having followed their former coach from the Hornets to the Bees.
And Cox insists his decision to bring those players, who played a key role in Hornets securing the ENIHL Division 1 South Play-Off title in April, was based on the impact that he believes they will have for the Bees next season.
He is adamant that as long as the six are willing to work hard to improve their game, they will be more than good enough to compete with the best the EPL has to offer, and insists that, if Bees hadn’t secured their signings, then their local rivals would have.
“Having these guys in the squad will make things easier for me, but they haven’t come up from the Hornets just because I knew them,” said Cox.
“From the six that have moved up, I think other EPL teams were trying to sign at least four of them.
“Basingstoke and Slough were looking at them so it’s really not that much of a risk for us – it’s the natural progression for them to go from the Hornets to the Bees.
“They have deserved their chance and if Bracknell weren’t as successful as they have been in the EPL in recent years, last season aside, then they would have had their chance long before now.”
And Cox, who also spent last season coaching Bracknell Ice Hockey Club’s Under-18 team, the Drones, believes the younger boys from this crop are just the first in a long line of players ready to step up to the senior ranks at the club.
The teenage sides at Bracknell have enjoyed unprecedented success in recent years, very much out of proportion to the size of the club.
And, with a junior development system that is the envy of many of Bracknell’s richer neighbours, Cox insists it is a huge incentive to see these players progress and prevent them from being cherry picked by the likes of Slough, Guildford and Basingstoke.
And some of these players will have the chance to impress the new Bees head coach tomorrow when the majority of the senior squad, supplemented by some of the club’s younger talent, meets up for a preliminary training session.
“There’s a lot of players we’re looking at from inside the club and it’s a long-term plan to get more home-grown players to start playing for Bees,” said Cox.
“There definitely will be the players coming through in the next few years.
“You just have to look at the success the club has had over the past few seasons with all the national competitions that the young teams have won – there’s definitely the talent there.
“It’s now five weeks before we get the full squad together for the first time and I’m really looking forward to that.
“But we’ve got some ice time booked for tomorrow night and it should be a bit of fun just getting the guys together and letting them stretch their legs.
“We have probably about 10 or 12 guys that are available and about 10 guys from the hockey club that we want to have a look at with the possibility of putting on two-way contracts.”
And Cox hasn’t ruled out the possibility of adding at least another senior player to the roster prior to the first pre-season match at Basingstoke Bison on Wednesday September 8.
He said: “There’s a couple of guys we’re going to have a look at in the next couple of weeks, but if nothing happens there then I have no doubts about the current squad’s ability.”