Category: Player News

2020-21 Signing Alert – Alex Murray

Tonight, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the re-signing of head coach and versatile player, Alex Murray.

“It is great to have Alex in charge again next season,” says Steve Ferguson, Devils general manager, “he is passionate about not only the game and the team, but about creating an exhilarating and memorable experience for the supporters, his clarity of vision makes it easy and enjoyable to be a part of the off-ice team.”

Murray returns for his eleventh season at Solent, where he has played 262 games, scored 131 goals and contributed with 287 assists,

“The Devils is my home, I have spent the majority of my life at this club, playing since the age of 3 and coaching since I was 13 years old.”

Since returning to the Devils in 2013, Murray has coached the Devils up the table through NIHL 1, battled for supremacy in NIHL 2, won a playoff championship and took the Devils back to the final the following year, and then saw them claim second in NIHL 1 at the end of last season.

“It’s a no brainer to continue the journey I am on,” Murray states, “I want to establish this club as one of the most efficient in the south of England.”

With the Devils being a small club with a budget limited by several factors such as the capacity at their home games, the Devils face many challenges, but Murray seems to relish the task in front of him,

“It’s a great challenge, one I enjoy thoroughly! What it does show is that you don’t need a big budget to be competitive at this level.  I am humbled to have a team of players who I call family, as well as a wonderful back room team and of course, our fans who make all of this a success!  I could not be as successful as I am today without the help of everyone.”

Solent Devils may be a small club, hampered by the capacity of the ice rink they play in, but their army of fans are dedicated to the Devils, many of whom travel to away games and have been known to outnumber their opponents fans in their own rinks.  Murray is always grateful for the support for the team, and the team of volunteers that help run the Devils home games,

“The fanbase has grown considerably over the past couple of years.  I feel the time we spend after games with the supporters is invaluable.  In turn, the support we get back is amazing.  The players really enjoy playing at home, it’s all down to the support we receive, in particular from our wonderful supporters club!”

While Murray prefers playing forward, last season due to injuries or player unavailability, the versatile and solid player skated many games in defence.  Ferguson simply comments,

“Alex is a master of reading the game dynamics, his influence on the ice ensures that players remain focused on the outcome of the game and not lost in the moment that can cost you a game.”

Murray contributed twelve goals and forty assists in the 2019/20 season – 31 games – while only sitting 24 penalty minutes, but when asked to reflect, modestly says

“It is difficult to judge your own performance, however, I am constantly asking for feedback from my coaching team and senior players.  Over the last few years, my dad would also provide feedback, which is one thing I am missing at present.  The transition back to defence has been a blessing in disguise, I can help control the game from the back, as well as see the game better, meaning my coaching is more effective.”

As thoughts turn towards the future, Ferguson says,

“I’m expecting Alex and the team to continue to demonstrate the determination and talent that silenced that silenced their many critics, next season is 2019/20 part 2 – unfinished business.”

“It’s a real shame last season was cut short,” says Murray, “I completely understand and agree with the reasons.  Last season was one of the best seasons I have been a part of, to go unbeaten at the start of the season for so long was amazing, as was competing with all the teams with budgets, I am very proud of what the team accomplished.”

There is still a lot of summer ahead of us though, and before thoughts of the new season and what is to come carry everyone away, Murray goes on to say

“The upcoming season is a complete unknown, so, for now, I will continue to recruit the strongest team as possible, assessing our position and goals closer to the time, when we know what the season and the other teams look like.”

Murray will return to the Devils in shirt #73.  If you would like to sponsor a Devil or become a team sponsor, contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

Signing Alert – Steve Osman

Today, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the signing of British forward, Steve Osman.

Osman transfers into the Devils from the Bracknell Hornets, where in the 21 games he has played in the 2019/20 season, he scored 18 goals and contributed with 25 assists.

“Ozzy is someone I have known for a very long time,” says Alex Murray, Devils head coach.  “We have often talked about him coming to Solent, but work and distance has always meant it never quite happened.  Steve is a proven goal scorer at this level, who will add depth to our forwards – in particular at centre – which we have been short on since I dropped back to defence.”

 

“I’m very excited to be signing for the Devils,” says Osman, “you have a great squad here, they are a great bunch of guys who battle hard every game and are reaping the benefits of all the hard work and dedication Alex and the boys put in.”

Osman started his senior hockey career at Swindon, with the Swindon Cougars and is a familiar name around the South leagues, he knows many of the Devils too, having played with Richard Facey, Kieran Annis and Alex Trendall during his time at Wightlink Raiders, so his familiarity with some of the players will be beneficial when joining Solent.

 “Ozzy will be expected to get up to speed with the Solent way pretty quickly, as we look to keep pace with the teams at the top of the league,” says Murray.  “We all know about Ozzy offensively, but I will also be looking for him to lead his line at both ends of the ice, he is also great on faceoffs, which will be another benefit.”

Over the course of his career, Osman has played for several teams, including the Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison and Cardiff Devils. The 32 year old has played an astounding 385 games with 270 goals and 356 assists.

“I feel like I will bring some additional scoring to the team, and I am hoping to add to an already talented scoring group,”

Osman replied when asked what his aims are for the rest of the season.

“I will also help out by, hopefully, being a good two-way centre.”

Murray then goes on to say

“Ozzy gives us more options through the middle of the ice but can also play the wing.  Once he is settled into the team, I have some tough decisions to make in terms of line ups, that said it gives us better depth and will mean players will have to fight for their places on the roster.”

Osman’s career has seen him pick up several trophies and titles along the way – 2009/10 ENL 2 South champion and 2014/15 NIHL 2 South West champion plus 2014/15 NIHL 2 South playoff champions with Bristol Pitbulls.  During the 2015/16 season, Osman earned the most assists in NIHL South with 48.  In 2016/17 Osman won the NIHL South playoffs, with the Invicta Dynamos.

Despite the fact Osman is joining an established team quite a way into the season, he is very upbeat about it and seems to have no real worries about heading into the Solent organisation.

“I am really looking forward to playing in front of all the loud and supportive fans at Solent, and can’t wait to get on the ice very soon!”

Osman will be playing in shirt #83.  If you are interested in sponsoring any of the Devils this year, contact devilssupporters@outlook.com

Signing Alert – Jamie Fitzpatrick

Today, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the return of British defender, Jamie Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick is not a stranger to the Solent fans, having played 246 games after coming up from the Solent youth programme.

In his years at Solent – every year since 2004 – Fitzpatrick has amassed 94 assists while contributing 31 goals of his own.  Fitzpatrick was also a member of the 2011/12 ENL 2 champions line up, was part of the squad who won the 2017/18 NIHL 2 playoffs, and helped the Devils get there again in 2018/19.

Speaking about the signing Alex Murray commented;

We are delighted to have Jamie back on a interim basis over the Christmas and new year period. Jamie is a solid Defenceman who knows what it takes to play for this club.

Fitzpatrick will be joining the team in shirt #15.  To discuss sponsorship opportunities, contact devilssupporters@outlook.com

Signing Alert – Kieran Annis

Tonight, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the return of British defenceman, Kieran Annis.

Annis has played 318 games in his senior career, mostly on the Isle of Wight, including winning the playoffs in 2014/15.  Annis moved to the Solent Devils for the 2017/18 season, where he played 27 games, helping the Devils win the playoffs in Bracknell, against Chelmsford Chieftains.

When asked why he has chosen now to return, Annis says

“I’ve been off the ice for 18 months and had really started missing the sport.  I’ve had to evaluate things, and my career – unfortunately – took a front seat.  However, while this is still the case, I am in a position now where I think I can commit to playing, so we will see how it goes.  Alex has been in touch last season, and this season, it was nice to know that I always had the opportunity to return to the Devils.”

“Kieran becoming available couldn’t have come at a better time for us,” says Devils head coach, Alex Murray.  “We are very short on players at the moment due to injuries, suspensions and personal reasons.  I reached out to Kieran and it appeared to be the right time for him to make his return.  Kieran is an experience player who can play both forward and defence, and fits into our team and our philosophy perfectly.”

Over his career, Annis has scored 47 goals and helped out with 81 assists, 3 of those goals and 12 assists during his season at Solent, but Annis hasn’t played hockey since the end of the 2017/18 season.

 “Kieran hasn’t skated in a while, that said, after three training sessions he is going to be chucked in at the deep end as we have a double header.  I am confident Kieran will perform well this first weekend.  After the upcoming weekend, Kieran will be competing for a top four spot, which will be healthy competition for our defensive core.”

“I’m not worried,” says Annis, “I am quite self-critical, and I’ve expressed my struggles of remembering how to skate after the time off.  I’ve been assured that’s not the case.  My main concern when playing has always been letting the boys down, so I will do what I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“Like most hockey players, it only takes a few weeks on the ice to be back up to speed.” Murray states.  “Kieran has trained for almost a month now, so I feel he is ready to step in and make a contribution – ideally in a more comfortable scenario, but some people thrive when you throw them in the deep end!”

Annis then continues,

“Right now, I am here to provide cover for the injuries and suspensions the squad is unfortunately going through.  I am probably coming back a week or two earlier than I was anticipating, but I will be ready come the weekend.  In addition to that, hopefully I will be able to rub off some experience to the younger guys, there are some really good, young players in the team, and if they aren’t helping me I would like to be helping them where I can.”

Annis will be returning in shirt #13.  If you are interested in sponsoring the Devils, contact devilssupporters@outlook.com

 

Signing Alert – Scott Cooper

Today, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the signing of Scott Cooper.

Cooper joins the Devils from NIHL 1 North team, the Billingham Stars.  His hockey career started at the Newcastle Vipers, where he spent most of his formative years building up his defensive ability – with a few spells at Billingham thrown in too – before heading south for a couple of seasons at Slough (where he even played with veteran Devil, Ben Lock).  Cooper headed back to the northern teams, Whitley Warriors, Solway Sharks and the Billingham Stars once more.

“Scott is a great lad who comes with really positive recommendation from coaches from the north,” says Devils head coach, Alex Murray.  “The move south for Scott has happened at a great time for us, as we are light on players, so this signing will booster our small squad.”

So far this season, Cooper has played 9 games in Billingham where he has picked up 2 assists, but over his 205 game career he has scored 20 goals and earned 35 assists, picking up just 170 penalty minutes.

“Scott brings a good hockey head,” continues Murray, “lots of energy as well as the ability to play forward or defence to give us options during the busy schedule.  Scott understands he has to work hard to earn a spot with the Devils.  He is determined to make an impact and I am sure he will!  I expect Scott to bring some experience to our youthful lineup.”

A change in circumstance has brought Scott to the south coast, when asked about the why the Devils Cooper said

“After speaking with Alex who came recommended by a couple of players who used to play with him, I was sold on the ideas he has in mind for the devils”

Cooper continued

“I will look to bring plenty of speed and energy to the lineup each night and contributing anyway I can on and off the ice for the club”

Cooper says

“I was nervous at first but the environment that the team has created in the room and in practice settled those nerves straight away and they made a conscious effort to make me feel at home”

As a forward Scott is looking to score points in anyway he can.

Cooper will be wearing #24 and looking for a shirt sponsor, if you wish to sponsor please get in contact with Kerry at devilssupporters@outlook.com

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.”