Bracknell Bees are renaming themselves after confirming a move to Slough.
The Berkshire side have safeguarded their future following the closure of their home, John Nike Leisure Centre and will move to Slough Ice Arena, or ‘The Hangar’, where they’ll share with Slough Jets, where they will now be known as ‘Bees’.
And head coach Doug Sheppard is excited about what the future holds although admitted there was anxiety over the future of the club.
“It was devastating news when the announcement came that the Hive was closing,” Sheppard said. “It was a nervous time for us as an ice hockey team having no ice.
“We sat down and considered our options and have had some very upbeat discussions regarding our move to Slough.
“We’re now looking forward to working with the Slough Jets and the Slough Junior Jets and becoming a full part of the Slough Ice Hockey Community as well as proudly continuing our heritage of 33 seasons in Bracknell.”
The devastation of the coronavirus has been closely felt up and down the country, with some rinks threatened with closure
‘The Hive’ closing signalled a very challenging time for Bracknell as their existence was threatened and over 11,000 signed a petition to keep it open.
As a result, all staff were made redundant and the Bees immediately set about securing a new home to preserve their status.
New beginnings! The TSI World Bees Ice Hockey Club are delighted to announce their new home as the Slough Ice Arena, following extremely positive discussions with Everyone Active, Slough Borough Council, the Slough Jets Ice Hockey Club and the Nike family. https://t.co/orYozFuLjB pic.twitter.com/gYDViv7CZ9
— Bees Ice Hockey Club (@BeesIceHockey) August 13, 2020
The move, as well as the name change, is one that could open doors to help grow the sport in the local area, according to Bees director Stuart Robinson.
“We think we have an exciting future ahead, but now more than ever, we need the fantastic support of Bees fans and sponsors to keep with the club and cheer the guys on in our new home,” he said.
“The move enables the club to further grow its Schools and Community Outreach programmes in Bracknell and Wokingham, while also expanding this to Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead.”
Steve English, Slough Jets director of operations, added: “While, for a long time, the Jets and Bees were rivals we, like many in the hockey community, were saddened to hear the news of the Hive closing.
“We will work closely with the Bees to ensure success for both clubs at the Hangar.”