Category: Player News

Signing Alert – Matt Colclough

Today, the Solent Devils are pleased to announce Matt Colclough will be back in the squad for the 2019/20 season.

Colclough will primarily be training with the Devils, to keep the rest of the team – and the other netminders – sharp.

“I’m really happy to be returning to the Devils,” Colclough says, “it’s a great set up and I have played with several of the team for many years now.  The current set up works for both the team and me, I train every week and will assist on game days if one of the goalies are injured.  I enjoyed the games I played last season, and training was high intensity, which I like.”

“Matty is a great netminder with a wealth of experience,” says Devils head coach, Alex Murray, “he adds so much value to our squad.  His presence on the rink gives our players that extra edge and he will regularly give feedback to players and goalies.”

Colclough played two games for the Devils last season, giving up just three goals from 44 shots.  The 29 year old has been playing since youth, and in his time has played for teams including Guildford Phoenix, Streatham and Wightlink Raiders, winning league titles and playoff championships.

Murray, looking towards the new season says

“I’m very lucky to be able to have three exceptional goal tenders at Solent, each one brings something different to the team, Matty has played for many years at this level and won everything there is to win, his experience is invaluable.  Matty will play if and when required, with the additional fixtures this season who knows what ill happen, but for now he will only be training with the team.”

Colclough, obviously happy with the arrangement goes on to say,

“I think I give the team an opportunity to compete in every training, as I I’m not playing on the weekends I will work really hard in training, which helps the players develop their shooting skills continuously.”

This leads on to what Murray is looking for from the veteran, and how he can best use the wealth of knowledge and experience he has, as well as Colclough’s skill and talent.

“Matt knows what is expected of him,” Murray says, “at training he is able to give it his all, as he won’t be playing on the weekend often, that means players don’t get a night off and never get complacent.  He is one of the best goalies at this level, and so if players are successful in training, they should be more confident in games.  I will want Matty to pass his knowledge on to Aaron who is still young, and be a sounding board for Chico, should he need it.”

“Aaron was a young netminder on the Island when I played for the Raiders,” says Colclough, “he was often invited to train with us, and like then I will be happy to pass on any advice should he need it.  With Chico, he is an experienced goalie, so it’s more about helping him stay on top of his game by working hard myself in training.”

Signing Alert – Elliot Lewis

The Solent Devils are pleased to announce the re-signing of Elliot Lewis.

This will be Lewis’ second year with the Devils, after playing on a two-way contract with the junior Devils last season.

“I could name so many things that brought me back to the club this year,” says Lewis, “but if I had to narrow it down to a few things it would have to be how much I have developed as an individual, not only as a hockey player but as a person also, and how great the team ethos is.  Over the past year, I believe that I’ve not really appreciated or realised how much my hockey brain has improved, in terms of positioning and decision making on the ice, and I think that’s all purely down to being in and around so many years of experience with the other players and especially the coaches.  The changing room on training and game days is really something else, it is a great chemistry and bond between everyone, and I think that’s why the team is so successful and gets results, let’s hope we can do it again this year!”

Devils head coach, Alex Murray talks simply about the latest signing, saying

“Elliot is an incredibly talented young British forward, who has huge potential.  I am excited to see how he continues his development next season.”

For the senior Devils last season, Lewis played 24 games, picking up 7 goals and three assists.  When asked about his contribution to the team, he goes on to say

“Overall I am happy with my performances last season, but then again there are a few things, when I reflect, I would have changed.  I think one of the main things that I really struggled with was making that transition from junior to senior hockey, it took me until around Christmas to really adapt to the speed and physicality of the game at that level, and how I had to adapt my style of play.  My last year at junior level, I relied on hand skills to beat defenders, and it built into habit.  Last season, at senior level, whenever I tried to be fancy, I was never successful, so in order to improve that next season, I think I need to simplify my game as a whole.”

Highlighting the difference in performance between the junior and senior level, Lewis played 13 games with the junior side last season, where he amassed an impressive 35 goals with 10 assists.

“Elliot progressed as we anticipated last season,” says Murray, talking about the development of eighteen-year-old, “he has a great willingness to learn and is very humble.”

Continuing to be humble, Lewis carries on his exposition of his development last season, talking about the people that helped him to build his confidence and skills.

“I think the way I developed last year was just constantly watching and asking questions to the experienced players.  Those players were a massive part of my development, they were so supportive when I came to them for advice, or they would offer me little tips and pointers throughout the year.  As a new player, that is all you can ask for and I will be forever grateful.”

“Elliot will be given an opportunity to prove himself at a higher level than last season,” states Murray, as thoughts turn toward the fast approaching first fixture of the 2019/20 season, “and I believe he is up for the test.  He has been working hard during the summer and will be ready to hit the ground running.”

Lewis finishes of by talking about how he wants to continue on the ice and shares his confidence in the team by saying

“My goal for this year is just to play smart and simple hockey.  If I get some points along the way, that would be a bonus.  I think I am the least experienced person playing at NIHL 1 level, but I think the squad for this season is very talented and skillful.  On our day, we can challenge anyone so I think that if we play the hockey that we know we are capable of, then who says we can’t be challengers for the league title?”

Lewis will be returning in shirt #19 next season.  If you are interested in sponsoring a Devils shirt, or becoming a club sponsor, please contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

Signing Alert – Ralfs Circenis

Today, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the return of Ralfs Circenis.

The 21 year old, Latvian born forward last played for the Devils in the 2015/16 season, and since spent time playing in the GMHL, Canada.

“I’m excited to get started,”

said Circenis, talking about his return to Solent.  The last season played at Solent, Circenis earned 10 goals and 9 assists in 33 games.

“Hopefully I will pick up where I left off.”

Devils head coach, Alex Murray, obviously pleased at the return of the agile forward goes on to say

“Ralfs is an exceptional talent at this level, so I am delighted to be able to secure his signature for the up and coming season.  Having him will add offensive depth to our team.”

Circenis discusses his relationship with head coach, Murray, and why it was a key factor in his return to Solent,

“Alex is a great coach, I like the style of play his team have played in the past and he is also a good friend of mine, having him as the coach here definitely impacted my decision to return.”

Circenis’ time in Canada saw him playing for teams such as Toronto Attack and Niagara Whalers – with whom he won the GMHL championship in the 2016/17 season, and then in the 2017/18 season won the championship again with the Almaguin Spartans.

“Playing in Canada has definitely made me better all round,” says Circenis, “especially in the mental aspects of the game.  Winning back to back championships has taught me what a team needs to win trophies.”

Murray, seeing the potential following Circenis’ development says

“Ralfs experiences over in Canada will bring a different edge to our offence, he will bring goal scoring as well as a different aspect to our powerplays.”

“My goal this year,” Circenis confidently states, “is to help the team win a trophy at the end of the season, and I will do this anyway I can.”

Murray, however, has some clearer and more game based objectives for the Devils most recent signing.

“Ralfs will be expected to make an impact in the offensive zone, that said he is also a hardworking two-way player, so will help in our end also.  I’m excited to see Ralfs back at Solent.”

Circenis is looking for a shirt sponsor for the upcoming season.  If you are interested in sponsoring a Devils shirt, or becoming a club sponsor, please contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

Signing Alert – Callum Farrell

The Solent Devils are today pleased to announce the return of youth player, Callum Farrell.  Farrell will be on a two-way contract with Solent Devils NIHL 2.

“I’ve come back because last season was a fantastic season,” says Farrell, “and I really like the set up at Solent.”

At 18, Farrell is youthful and full of energy, something that Devils head coach, Alex Murray, is perfectly happy working with, always referring to the Devils as a development club.

“Callum has a lot of potential, and the opportunity to train and play at NIHL 1 level next season will only enhance his development.  Callum is continually learning about what it takes to be a senior hockey player at Solent.  Last season he adapted well, worked hard, and took his chances on the ice when they came.”

“Last season for me, performance-wise was a good solid foundation for seniors,”

 

 

says Farrell, recognising the opportunity he has, skating with such a dedicated group of players and coaches at Solent.

 

“I learned so much from each of the team, and I was able to move my game forward.”

“This year, Callum will be on a two way between the NIHL 2 and NIHL 1 teams at Solent,” states Murray.  “Callum will have different roles within each team, but for the senior Devils it is a similar role to last season, he will be continually learning and getting his chance to prove himself on the ice, and I look forward to watching Callum progress further.”

As thoughts turn toward the upcoming season, with the restructured league, Farrell says

“I think it will be a good challenge for the team, and feel we are ready for the new season.  This year, I want to improve my game and be able to put in to practice all of the hard work from over the summer.”

Farrell is returning in shirt #63 for the upcoming season.  If you are interested in sponsoring a Devils shirt, or becoming a club sponsor, please contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

Signing Alert – Aaron Craft

The Solent Devils are pleased to announce the signing of experienced netminder, Aaron Craft.

When asked what brought Craft to the Devils, he simply replied

“Devils are my local team, since the Island rink closed, and I’ve known a lot of the players over the years.  The Devils are a well-run, well organised team who have clear set goals and can competitively compete in the league.”

“Aaron is a very talented goalie who I have known since he was a junior during my time on the Isle of Wight,” states Alex Murray, Solent Devils head coach.  “Aaron often trained up from the juniors, so I know how much potential he has got.”

Craft last iced with the Basingstoke Buffalo, where in the 2017/18 season he played 24 games with a save percentage of 87.71% and posted a goal against average of 4.74.  Some players struggle in moving from a big ice pad – such as Basingstoke’s – but Craft should be quite at home on the small ice at Solent,

“Although playing on a big rink is easier for a goalie,” Craft says, “you have a lot more space and time to see shots, I’ve grown up on a small ice pad on the Isle of Wight though, so the smaller rink at Solent will feel more natural to me.”

Craft didn’t play in the 2018/19 season, and acknowledges it by saying “After a year off, it will be hard to get back into the swing of things, but I think when the season starts and I’m back in the routine, things will quickly start to come back and I will return to my normal self.  I’ve been on the ice a few times this summer already and am happy with where I am – considering the year off.”

Murray is prepared to give Craft some time but makes it clear that he expects the 22 year old to put in the necessary effort.

“Aaron understands that that this will be a big jump up from what he has played before, but he is hard working and will continue to work on his game until he is ready.  He will need a few weeks, maybe more, to get up to speed, but training is intense which will get him ready.  It was a priority to ensure I had a goaltender who has experience at playing as a number one.  During his time with the Buffalo, he often kept games competitive and I will need Aaron to play games this season due to the amount of fixtures we have.”

 “I’ve got a few personal goals for the season ahead,” Craft says, “which mainly relate to having a year off.  My main one is to improve and maintain my fitness – which I will work on before the season starts.  I really just want to be able to feel comfortable and happy with myself on the ice again.  From a team point of view, this season I think it’s important that I can make my team feel comfortable and that they can rely on me when needed.”

Murray follows this up, reiterating once more that Craft will have to work hard this year, but also that as a coach he has belief in Craft.

“Aaron has to push hard in training to earn a chance to play, once he has a chance, then it is up to him to prove to me – and the team – he merits staying in the line-up.  I have every faith that Aaron will take the opportunity, which is why I am delighted to welcome him to the club.”

Craft is looking for a shirt sponsor for the upcoming season.  If you are interested in sponsoring a Devils shirt, or becoming a club sponsor, please contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

Signing Alert – Chico Cole

Today, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the re-signing of the lead netminder, and number 1, Christian “Chico” Cole.

“I’m proud to be a part of the Devils organisation,” Says Cole.  “It’s been a pleasure to see this club being transformed into something very positive, with players wanting to play at the club.  One of the reasons I am back is because Solent’s dressing room is like no other!  The fans are another reason I am back, it is a real great feeling and an honour to see our arena full of fans.”

Head coach, Alex Murray, pleased that the experienced netminder has returned once more says

“Chico is an integral part of the core squad at Solent and has been for several years.  He brings confidence to the team and will once again be one of the top goalies in the league.”

“I’m more relaxed than ever, this being my twenty-second or twenty-third season playing hockey across all ages, I just love to play the game and I’m still learning all the time.  My performances are also improving and becoming much more consistent, which is the main thing for me and the club.”

Last year – his ninth for the Devils – Cole played 30 games, with a 2.22 goals against average, stopping a huge 92.87% of all shots he faced.  This equates to allowing just 62 goals for the entire season – including the playoffs, while having faced a huge 861.  Cole also picked up 4 assists in the season.

Murray though, has a long history with Cole and has seen what he can achieve on the ice over a period spanning many years.

“Chico has always been a consistently top end goalie.  His stats show that he will keep the team in games and I a rink where goals are easy to come by, as a team we conceded the least amount of goals of the last two seasons compared to the other clubs, and Chico is a big reason for that.”

The new season, with the restructured league brings more games in the fixture list than the last few seasons, but Cole doesn’t seem too worried about it.

“Although I loved less games last year, due to being less demanding on my body, I’ve been here and I’ve done it before, I am ready for it again.  It’s certainly going to be interesting next season.  I don’t really know what to expect, but it’s definitely going to be a big challenge.  It looks like a lot of clubs have strengthened their teams, but we will be there week after week to compete with everyone.”

Murray doesn’t seem worried about the veteran netminder’s fitness either – although lets slip his plans for the upcoming season to ensure that the Devils remain fully competitive in any event.

“Chico will once again be the Devils number one goaltender.  He is an exceptional talent, and I will expect hm to keep us in games to give us a chance to win as many as possible.  Chico will manage the increase in games, although I intend to have two goalies competing with each other this season, which will allow him to rest and recover on some weekends.”

With the pressure on the netminders, when asked about his goals for the season Cole simply says

“This year, I’m going to take it week by week rather than setting myself goals at the start of the season.  We will be there to compete with everyone, and I will be aiming to do my best as always.”

Cole will be returning in shirt #1 for the 2019/20 season.  If you are interested in sponsoring a Devils shirt, or becoming a club sponsor, please contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.