Cole helps Solent Devils stoke up recruitment drive

Christian Cole. Picture: Dave Chapman
Christian Cole. Picture: Dave Chapman
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Solent Devils have cranked their pre-season preparations up a notch with a busy spell of recruitment.

The National League south division one outfit have added no less than five players to their 2015-16 squad in the past week.

Christian Cole, who has played than 100 times for the club, has signed up for a sixth consecutive campaign.

The netminder is joined by George Norcliffe, Sam Rudkin, Jamie Fitzpatrick and Alex Trendall in penning new deals at the Gosport Arena.

Trendall has switched from Tampa Bay Juniors, where he played 31 times in the United States Premier Hockey League.

And the 19-year-old forward, who has previously represented Wightlink Raiders, insisted he couldn’t resist a new challenge back in England.

Trendall said: ‘I’m very excited to sign with the Devils.

‘I’m looking forward to spending my season with a new bunch of guys.

‘My mind was made up as soon as I skated with them.

‘They are very organised and all the guys have a great attitude.

‘I was away for last season but from what I have seen they are a very hard-working team.

‘I’d be surprised to see this team out-worked.’

Cole reckons the Devils are raising the bar each season and he is confident they can build on their seventh-place finish of last term.

He said: ‘I love the atmosphere and I feel right at home here.

‘I have high expectations for myself as always but I am also enjoying my hockey a lot more now.

‘I would love the team this year to be competing more in the mid-table but the standard is raising all the time, so it will be a great challenge.’

Norcliffe was named fans’ player-of-the-season last term after notching 24 goals and 24 assists in 39 matches.

His form has seen him attract plenty of attention but he has decided to stay put for a fourth season.

‘I feel I have made the right decision for myself,’ said the winger, 21.

‘The team is always looking to develop and progress.

‘All of the guys have a great hunger to win and I think it is going to be an exciting season.’

Rudkin, 19, is on board for the challenges ahead and joins his brother, Shaun Rudkin, in the squad.

The teenager will wear the number five jersey – honouring former Devils junior Shane Clacy, who died in 2006.

Gosport defenceman Fitzpatrick is the club’s longest-serving player.

He is set to enter his ninth season and is keen to add to his 192 appearances, 84 assists and 23 goals.

The 24-year-old added: ‘This team is getting stronger each year.

‘Alex (Murray, head coach) and the people off the ice, behind the scenes are helping us make an impact.’

The Devils begin their campaign in September.