Return of the Captain
Lewis Bell has been a Steeldog since day one and is the only player to have been a part of the club through all ten seasons. Season 2020/21 will be his eleventh as a Dog and his 4th as club captain.
The D-man turned 29 in March and will be looking to add to his record number of appearances for the club and keen to build on last seasons six goals and 20 assists.
Returning was an easy decision for Lewis;
“Every year I’m in the same position, waiting to be asked back and not hesitating to return. I don’t think anyone would want last year to be the final season of their career with the way it ended. I was quite proud of how the team did across the season; we had a bit of a flying start and did really well but then we were hit badly by injuries and they were injuries to key players. Losing both Nathan Salem and Kieran Brown for big chunks of time was tough. Those two would be top Brits in any club and to stay in the playoff places without them and with so many young lads stepping up was great. We were looking forward to going into the playoffs with a full team and I thought we had a bit of an outside chance but the early end to the season denied us that chance”.
The skipper was pleasantly surprised by the contribution from some of the youngest guys on the team;
“They went way above what anybody expected of them. When they came in, I was just hoping they could settle in, not make any mistakes and get by, but they went far beyond that. There were times where Brammer and Ripley were our best players by going out and changing the momentum of games. If they can build on that it will be good for them and for the club”.
Next season will be a first for Lewis – as he will become a father for the first time in July;
“It’ll be my first season combining hockey with being a dad - I’m sure both things will be a release from each other and will balance ok. I’m looking forward to it - even though I know I’ll get some stick from some of the guys!”
He also summed up what makes the Steeldogs special for him;
“The ongoing commitment from a core group of local lads over a number of years has been fundamental. We might not have the biggest budget in the league but that core group gives the team an even standing. The lads know each other well and really get on as a group and I think the fans see that and like it - and also sponsors like Bradfield too. There is quite a community feel and that helps us on the nights where we should be underdogs and keeps us challenging”.
For Coach Ben Morgan, this was an easy signing to make:
“Lewis is a role model and really puts in everything for the club both on and off the ice. I know he will lead by example and that’s something you need from your veterans and especially your captain. He’s gained loads of experience in different situations; he’s played on struggling teams, he’s played on over-achieving teams and on teams that were expected to win, and he’s managed that pressure, that expectation regardless of how high or low it was.
“He’s got a real focus, following his own meticulous preparation. He thinks about every aspect to make sure he’s in the best condition, be that his warmup, his diet, even what he’s doing the night before games. The way he looks after himself means his condition is better than most guys of his age.
“He still pushes himself and he always wants to improve on his points production year on year - not for himself but to contribute to the team. He can be relied upon to do what’s needed, blocking shots, taking hits to make a play and that’s the stuff you want to see from your leaders. Along with the extra preparations he makes off the ice, he’s sets a great example for everyone else”.
Welcome back Captain Bell!
We welcome Georgie and Baums Construction Services who will be player sponsor to Lewis this season. We thank them for their support and look forward to see them at The Pound.
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