Bracknell Bees rebuilding continues with two signingsBy Adam Lee
April 27, 2011
Bracknell Bees have added two more familiar names to their roster for the coming season, with forwards Lukas Smital and Shaun Thompson returning to the club for their second spells.
The addition of Smital means that Bees now have two import forwards signed for the 2011/12 campaign, with Peter Jasik having re-signed last week.
And that almost certainly means the top-two points scorers for the past two seasons Jaroslav Cesky and Michal Pinc, will not be returning to the Hive.
However, the addition of Smital and former GB Under-20 star Thompson is an important first step after the Bees owners and coaching staff revealed they wanted to attract ‘leaders’ to the club
The arrival of the duo sends out a strong message to the rest of the EPIHL as to Bees’ intentions for next season, although coach Gareth Cox is more concerned about seeing his plans for the new-look squad take shape.
And he revelealed it didn’t take much persuasion for Smital, 36, to switch from Guildford Flames back to Bracknell.
The Czech forward was an integral part of Bees’ success between 2004 and 2007, and returns to the Hive as a player and assistant coach.
Meanwhile, 23-year-old Thompson returns after leaving the club in 2008 to have spells at Basingstoke Bison, Hull Stingrays, the Braehead Clan and Slough Jets.
And Cox is expecting big things from the second-highest British points scorer in last season’s Slough squad.
“The signings show we’re on the right page,” said Cox.
“For us it’s more about making sure we’re competitive and are giving the fans what they want than sending a message to the rest of the league.
“It didn’t take too much persuasion for Smits to join because we have been friends for a long time and that was pretty much sorted from the start.
“I would have liked to get him here last season, but he was on a two-year contract with Guildford.
“Smits is a proper leader on the ice and as he’s coming as assistant coach he’ll give me support as well.
“We’ve worked together for a long time, being at the Hornets together, and he brings a lot of experience and knowledge.
“I expect Thommo to put up some good numbers as well.
“He’s a very taleneted player who has always put up good numbers wherever he has been.
“He’s also played Elite League hockey for a number of years and we’re very happy to have signed him.
“They are exciting signings and we have got a few more that we’ll be hoping to announce in the next few weeks as well.”
Although Smital will join the club as assistant coach, Cox insists that does not spell the end of Greg Randall’s career at the club.
The experienced defenceman was the assistant coach last year, and although it is unclear whether he will retain that role next season, Cox revealed he has been in discussions with Randall with regard to joining Bees again.
“We’re talking to Randall at the moment, as well as a lot of the other players from last season and nothing is set in stone yet,” he said.
“We’re looking at all our best options.”