The Bristol Pitbulls have beaten the transfer deadline to capture Jack Clark from the Swindon Wildcats.
Nineteen-year old Clark is a product of the Swindon Ice Hockey Academy, making his senior debut for the NIHL2 Wildcats last season.
Clark will make his debut next weekend against Lee Valley, wearing number 89. The 102nd player to have played for the club, he will be only the second player in the club’s history to wear that number.
On his transfer to Bristol, Clark said: “I’m very happy to be signing for the Bristol Pitbulls. It’s been a team I’ve wanted to play for since my dad coached them when I was younger.
“At Bristol, I hope to progress and learn so that I reach my potential. Bristol has a lot of experienced players who have played at high leagues that I can learn from. I’d like to thank Richie for giving me this opportunity.”
Clark’s father, Ian, coached and played for the Pitbulls’ second team during the 2010-11 season when the team still played out of the old Frogmore Street rink. His connection to the club continues as one of the team’s sponsors through his ice hockey store in Swindon.
During Ian’s time in charge of the second time, Jack was team mascot for the Bristol Pitbulls in their Division 2 game against the Basingstoke Buffalo.
Ian said: “I am really happy for Jack. It is a really good opportunity for him. I loved my time as player-coach at Bristol and I have no doubt he will enjoy his time there too. Bristol is a great club and I am sure he will learn a lot.”
Pitbulls coach Richie Hargreaves admitted that the team’s current injury crisis provided the perfect opportunity to bring Clark into the team.
He said: “Jack had expressed a interest in joining us earlier in the year. But, due to a full quota, it wasn’t possible.
“It’s no secret this season has had its ups and downs with our results. And with our injuries of late, it has really taken its toll on our team. I felt before the transfer deadline had gone I needed to make a decision to strengthen the team for our playoff charge.
“Jack is keen to learn and we have both had a good chat at what both of us expects from this. Jack brings more depth to our squad and, with no breaks in our fixtures until 2nd week of April, I think this will help with us staying fit in our current situation with having no rink.
“Jack is a big kid and will help bolster our defence. If he is anything like his old man, I know I’m getting a real spit and sawdust type of player who will work every shift.
“The depth on defence allows me to use a couple of my more versatile players in a forward capacity now. With Janne still out for another couple months, it’s another option as imports for budget clubs don’t fall out of trees, trust me .
“I’m excited for Jack. I know he will be eager to get going for us.”