Category: Team News

2020-21 Signing Alert – Calumn Perella-Fox

Tonight, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the return of seasoned defenceman, Calumn Perella-Fox, for his third consecutive year with the club.

When asked why he has returned to the Devils, Perella-Fox says,

“A few things that come to mind, the changing room and the team is great, we are like a family and I couldn’t see myself not returning.  The fans are great at Solent, too, they make the game days so much better.”

“I am delighted to welcome back our players player from last year,” says Alex Murray, Solent Devils head coach.  “Calumn is a valuable asset to our club, his versatility allows him to play in several positions and roles within the team throughout the season.  He is a team first guy, never giving less than his all.”

Last season, Perella-Fox scored once and earned four assists, with just twenty four penalty minutes from his 31 games, and was awarded Solent Devils players player of the year, an especially prestigious award, as this is chosen by the other members of the team.

“I was happy with my performance last season,” says Perella-Fox, “but feel I could also bring a lot more to the team on the ice.  Hopefully, as my confidence grows, I will keep improving.  Being awarded players player is such a great award to get, and I feel that was my best achievement from last season.”

Murray goes on to say,

“Calumn’s performances are not about statistics.  His work rate, versatility and consistency are all the reasons why he was recognised by his peers, his efforts every week in training, the way he applied himself, this is only visible to the guys in the locker room.”

This may be Perella-Fox’s third consecutive year with the club, but he is not new to the Devils, having come through the youth system at Solent into senior hockey, including being with the ENL2 championship team in 2011/12.  Perella-Fox moved to Wightlink Tigers for the 2012/13 season, where he played for two years, before taking a few years out of ice hockey, returning to Solent for the 2018/19 season.  Looking ahead to the new season, Perella-Fox says

“I know I still have a lot more to show, and I want to continue to develop.  I am here to help the team, but I will also, hopefully, get some more points on the board.”

“Confidence is a massive part of the game, and while I may apply pressure with the coaching techniques I use, I will be helping Calumn to build his confidence during games.  Calumn already knows that his performance is enough to get him a spot on the team, but every player on the team knows they need to work to keep their spot, consistency is a big part of that.”

Perella-Fox will return to the Devils in shirt #44.  If you would like to sponsor a Devil or become a team sponsor, contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

2020-21 Signing Alert – Mark Pitts

Today, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the return of last season’s Coach’s player, Mark Pitts.

Pitts returns to the Devils for his fifth consecutive year, where he has been a solid player for the club as they battled back in the old NIHL 1, and was a part of the team that lifted the Playoff cup at the end of the 2018/19 season.

“Everyone is here because they enjoy playing hockey, everyone wants to be here,” says Pitts.  “There are never any arguments or animosity in the team, we have an excellent core of guys who make sure the dressing room has one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever been a part of.  Additionally, the Devils off ice team and the Devils organisation as a whole, is second to none.”

“I’m thrilled to welcome back one of the best centremen in the league,” says Alex Murray, Solent Devils head coach, “Mark is by far the most underrated player in the league, he is equipped to play in any moment of the game, in whatever role is required.  His work effort and attitude is exceptional, leading by example for all of our younger players.

Last season, Pitts played 29 games, putting away 14 goals and chipping in a massive 40 assists,

“Goals and assists are something I’ve never really paid much attention to,” Pitts says.  “I had plenty of opportunities to put the puck in the net last season that I missed, so that’s obviously something to improve on next season.  Overall, I am happy with my points production last season – it becomes much easier when you’re centring two of the best scorers in the league!”

Murray though, is clearly excited by the contribution from Pitts last season,

“Mark was simply our best all round player last season.  His ability to play any role, at any time means he is indispensable to our team.”

Pitts’ senior career has been an impressive 219 games since 2005, starting in Guildford, moving to Basingstoke in 2007, then joining the Solent Devils for the 2016/17 season, where he has now played 107 games, driving home 52 goals and helping out with 117 assists, making his career contributions, so far, a huge 135 goals with 233 assists.  These numbers though, don’t seem to excite the humble player,

“As I said, scoring is important, but I’s never been my focus, I leave that to the guys with flair and skill.  I focus a lot on endurance and strength, and I try to do the ugly stuff well – battling in the corners, blocking shots, taking hits trying to make a play.  Working at both ends of the ice is vital for me, there’s no point in being offensively strong if you’re defensively weak, so being fit enough to cover the whole ice, for the whole game, is a priority for me.”

Looking towards the new season, Murray makes it clear that he doesn’t expect Pitts to change his attitude towards games,

“Next season, I am looking for pretty much the same.  I think if there was any area of improvement, Mark would agree that it would be his finishing – that said, I am entirely happy with Mark as a player, and I am delighted he is back again!”

Pitts, ever the team player, is looking to what the team can achieve, but seems confident in the team he will be with and having Alex Murray at the helm,

“If the league structure remains similar, a top three finish would be a good target this year.  It is a highly competitive league with some very good teams, most people didn’t give us a chance last season and I feel we proved everyone wrong, but we will need to pick it up again this season.  Every game will be a fight, but with the team Muzza is putting together I am sure we will be up for the challenge.”

Pitts will return to the Devils in shirt #5.  If you would like to sponsor a Devil or become a team sponsor, contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

2020-21 Signing Alert – Dan Lackey

Today, the Solent Devils are delighted to announce the re-signing of Dan Lackey

Lackey returns to the Devils for his third consecutive year, having spent most of his hockey career in Basingstoke.

“I’m very happy to be back in a Devils shirt next year,” says Lackey, “a lot of credit goes to Muzza for what he has achieved with the club’s direction – I’m sure his dad would be very proud.  It makes it an appealing place to be.  The club is professionally run, from the off-ice team through to the dressing room, so it means we can just focus on playing hockey.  The fans are great too, they turn up every week and make a hell of a lot of noise, which is great to play in front of.”

Solent Devils head coach, Alex Murray, spoke of his excitement at Lackey’s re-signing with the Devils,

“Dan is a very experienced, versatile player.  I’m delighted Dan has agreed to return to Solent.  Lackey is a team first guy, who likes to get his nose dirty and can play any role for the team, including roles on both special teams.”

Last season, Lackey picked up 7 goals and 12 assists in 27 games, bringing his Devils stats up to 55 games played, with 16 goals and an impressive 41 assists – including one during their play off run at the end of the 18/19 season.

“I’m quite critical of myself, I expect a lot so always want more!” says Lackey, modestly, “I’m happy overall with the two years at Solent, that’s why I am back – oh, and to try and get some more silverware back to the Thunderdome!”

Murray, however, is somewhat more vocal about the solid player’s contribution to the team,

“Dan was exceptional last year, a close contender for Coach’s player and Player’s player due to his team first attitude and hard work ethic.  His performances were amongst the best in the team, week in week out, he competes consistently at a high level.”

Over the course of his career, Lackey has amassed 99 goals and 148 assists throughout his 329 games, and has won the title for most goals by a defenceman three times (2012/13, 2014/15 and 2015/16), was BUIHA tier one national champion in 2014/15 and WPIHL champion in 2015/16.  Lackey has also played in three playoff competitions, including the finals with the Devils in 2018/19.

Continuing to be modest, the quietly spoken Lackey goes on to say,

“I think I mentioned it last year, but I am not really a points guy.  At the end of the game, there are only two points that matter.  I’m just as happy standing in front of shots as putting the puck in the net.  One of my main skills is my versatility, other than taking Chico’s place, I played in every position last season.  One thing I think I can improve on though, is scoring, a few more goals may help the team, and we are all here to win.”

Murray’s confidence in the experienced player is evident though,

“Dan knows what it takes to play at this level.  I think for the team next season, we will still need Lackey to be versatile as we manage player availability and injuries, but I know regardless of what role Dan plays, he will perform to his best.”

Lackey will return to the Devils in shirt #9.  If you would like to sponsor a Devil, or find out about becoming a team sponsor, contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

2020-21 Signing Alert – Alex Cole

Tonight, the Solent Devils are overjoyed to announce the re-signing of dedicated defenceman, and long-time captain, Alex Cole.

“I’m delighted to be able to welcome back our club captain for next season,” says Devils head coach, Alex Murray.  “Alex is a well-respected member of the team, who I lean on a lot for off ice duties, including fitness programmes and support for interactions with our fans.  Alex has been with me from the start, so he is one of my senior wing men within the organisation.”

Cole, as the longest serving Devil with 318 games, has contributed 20 goals and 128 assists in his eleven seasons at Solent, and has been with the team since before they became ENL 2 champions during the 2011/12 season.  When asked why he has returned to the Solent line up, Cole says,

“It’s the journey that brings me back, I remember only a few years ago, stepping up to the NIHL 1 and being smashed every game, we were lucky if we won four games in the season!  Now look at last season, no one’s playing for the money, they’re playing because we want to be there.  Competing for top spot last season against teams with huge wage bills, that’s what keeps me coming back.”

With 4 goals and 20 assists in the shortened 2019/20 season, Cole continues talking about the amazing season the Solent Devils had over the last year.

“Last season was great, we overcame so many hurdles.  The team had just about two lines at one stage and carried our unbeaten run for several games.  The aim at the start of the season was mid-table, if you look at the line-ups and structures in the league last season, I would have said that was a good point to aim for.  Quickly, we proved that it doesn’t always matter who’s on the ice, it’s who wants to be there and who can perform when it’s most vital.”

As captain of one of the smallest teams in the country, and with virtually no budget, Cole continues to talk about how rewarding it is, and how much the fans mean to both the team, and him personally.

“We’ve never been blessed with a big squad, but we always work with what we have.  I don’t like an easy path, I prefer to work for it as it seems much more rewarding, and I think the fans respect that.  We have a lot of support and get a good following to our away games, which definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.  Without the fans, we wouldn’t be here, they are as vital to the game as we are.  The supporters are fantastic, I personally have bonded with so many of them, their families and their kids.  It’s so great to see them after the games at the Sailmaker so we can get to know the fans and not just see them through the glass.”

It was Murray who made Cole captain, back at the start of the 2015/16 season, after pinning an “A” to his chest the year before.  This doesn’t seem to be anything that Murray has had any reason to question or raised any doubts in his mind, as he says,

“Alex is a leader for this club, simply because he is as committed and passionate about it as me.  You need your captain to be loyal and lead by example, Alex does both of these things, on and off the ice.”

“Every season I set myself goals, I work and train in the summer to adjust any areas or improve on weaker ones.  I was notoriously a stay at home defenceman, two years ago I went about trying to change that and to impact the team going forward, not just going back.  My target was to match last seasons points in a tougher and stronger league, and be more patient defensively in our end.”

In the season before last, Cole was the NIHL 2 leading defenceman for both assists and points – this in the season after Cole captained the team to a playoff championship,

“I’m sure I managed 33 points in 2018/19, so I was on target with 11 games left to get another 9 points last season, and I have become much more confident with play-making.  The importance of winning is key, my personal points of course contribute towards results, as do everyone else’s, so I am extremely happy with a point a game.”

These goals and targets, and the increase in confidence from Cole don’t go unnoticed by the ever-diligent Murray,

“Alex always likes to set himself targets and goals each season.  Off the ice, he is very humble and always wanting to improve.  I’ve been impressed with his offensive contributions recently, but more so how he has begun to be so effective in his decision making during the big games and in the big moments.  I was very pleased with Alex’s contribution last season, he often plays with our second forward unit, so contributing on the board has helped the team overall.”

As thoughts turn to the future, Cole goes on to say,

“Next season we have to push for the top spot, I know everyone else will be looking for that and I’m sure other clubs will be aware of that.  With that in mind, we have to remember that no clubs will be unprepared and we wont catch them snoozing, it will be a very tough grind but if we can pull it off then what a feeling that will be!  A personal goal of mine will be to be more clinical with shooting and have more confidence and patience in the offensive zone – I can’t wait to get started again.”

Murray concludes simply, and with confidence in his captain,

“Next season is a complete unknown, I know Alex will be ready regardless and I will be looking for him to start the new season just like he did the last, as we look to hit the ground running.”

Cole will return to the Devils in shirt #8.  If you would like to sponsor a Devil, or find out about becoming a team sponsor, contact devilssupporters@outlook.com.

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.

2019-20 Season comes to an end

As a club we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support this season, it has been a season of great highs and has seen us as a hockey family support those in our community in need.

Please be safe over the coming months as the measures come in to place to slow down the pandemic, you are a fantastic community and we look forward with hope to hockey resuming later this year.

For refunds from the cancelled Streatham fixture please e-mail devilssupporters@outlook.com and we’ll make arrangements to return your payment.

We’ll keep you up to date on social media of any changes and preparations for next season.