After many years of trying, this season (2018) we (Solent Devils) finally lifted the trophy, something I personally, and the team has been chasing for many years!
This is what makes lacing up the boots at 5 years old seem so very well worth that wait. It all started just before my fifth birthday that my parents decided to take me to an Ice Hockey game on the Isle of Wight! We all absolutely loved it and from that moment we walked out the game, I knew I wanted to be an Ice Hockey player. Locally to myself, was the Gosport ice rink and they ran a junior club programme where I could learn how to play. I picked it up quickly and soon became one of the 20 selected kids to play in the team each week. At the time I out grew the club with ambition and needed to be coached by experienced players and that lead me up the A3 to Guildford where I played for several years and made the decision to play as a defencemen. I swapped over to Swindon for a season and then finished off my Junior Hockey at Guildford. I was never a naturally talented hockey player, I had to work for everything and that’s something I’ve had to do my entire life, I believe if you want something hard enough and work for it that anything is achievable. I finished my junior career after winning several league titles and national finals with a few South West of England trials too, but unfortunately never made the last cut. This worked in my favour as I moved to adult hockey as a young kid. I needed to improve and work on my weaker areas if I wanted to survive and be worth a regular spot. I moved back to Gosport where the team was in the NIHL2 league and where we remained for 2 seasons. I was now in a regular spot and we had a strong team, we dominated the 13/14 season undefeated and got automatic promotion into the semi-professional National Ice Hockey League 1. At the end of the season I was called up to the British National University Championships and became National Champions in Sheffield with a dominant weekend of performances!
The 14/15 & 15/16 season approached and I was asked to return but given Assistant Captain role, this is a big responsibility for someone so young and now I can’t be just thinking of my own game but helping the team around me with theirs! We survived the first year just missing relegation but second year we finished 7th which was a massive achievement and historic moment for the Solent Devils. I was asked to return for the British National University Championships in which we became Champs again! Wooo!
The 16/17 season was nearing and I was approached by the coach and asked if I would consider taking the role of team Captain. At 25 years old I was humbled and very excited to have been given the opportunity and I of course agreed! We played extremely well and secured 5th place at the end of the year, which for a team who was bottom of the lower league 3 years previous is a massive achievement!
This brings me back to the year of the trophy, the 2017/2018 season, again as captain & off ice fitness leader of the Solent Devils. We set a goal and that was to finish top 3, we would not settle for anything less! This season I was working my hardest in and around Ice Hockey to develop and keep improving myself, we wanted to make a statement this year. With 38 games played and 2 games remaining we were sat in 2nd place playing 1st place, winner guaranteed to lift the trophy for the season! We stuck it out but took a 3-2 loss in their rink, we were devastated, we finished 2nd 1 point behind 1st but we had one more time to shine..... The playoff championships!
A weekend where the qualifying top 8 teams play each other over 2 days, if you lose your out. We dominated the weekend from start to finish with a 6-1 win in the final to secure a landmark and monumental moment where I lifted the trophy for our team and our fans!
I had my best season, 2nd place, playoff champs, secured the most points personally from goals and assists and was informed I narrowly missed out of being selected for the All-Star team where the best players in the league are accredited for their hard work and dominance in the league.
I’ve been asked to return as captain for the 18/19 season and I’m currently working hard this summer towards my goals for this upcoming season. Follow my social media platforms to stay updated on game info, announcements and updates for the Solent Devils!
A big thankyou to Time 4 Nutrition for the continued support, without these guys, as clichéd as it sounds, I wouldn’t be in the position I am nor would my body cope with the pounding it takes. Stop waiting....invest in the best supplements on the market ... TIME 4 NUTRITION
Alex Cole #8