Bracknell Bees and Red Hockey hold webchat

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Bracknell Bees logo Red Hockey CEO Wayne Scholes and Bracknell Bees GM Ben Beeching were grilled by ice hockey fans from across the country during a webchat on Twitter.

The pair were joined by Precision Sports Marketing Chairman Andrew Cross, after Red Hockey purchased 49% of the ownership company last week.

The deal was announced on Friday evening, and will see Bracknell Bees share marketing and backroom expertise with Red Hockey’s Telford Tigers.

That will include legal and business teams for both clubs, to ensure they remain at the forefront of the decision-making process.

Using the hashtag #beesnews, one of the first questions came from Justin Wilson, who asked: “What impact will your plans have in the junior and youth set-up?”

Justin’s question was answered by Andrew Cross, who said: “Having a strong senior team with quality youth players being given an opportunity is the way forward.”

Gary Skeggs added: “We need a couple of experienced players next season, but would like to see the junior players get ice time as well.

Ben Beeching replied: “The core and heartbeat of this club is the juniors. Nothing has changed from what we said at the launch event two summers ago.

“They will play a big part in the future plans for the squad, coupled with some experienced signings to fill gaps.”

Simon Dunning, from Bracknell Bees Supporters’ Club, asked: “Will the work that the BBSC do be part of the bigger plan? Would you be looking at any changes?”

Ben Beeching said: “You know how valuable you are to the club, Simon. Any changes will collaborative and positive.”

That was a sentiment mirrored by Wayne Scholes, who added: “Involvement by fans that is collaborative is key to helping build great models at every level of sport.”

One of the key questions for Bracknell fans was the future of Head Coach Lukas Smital, who many see as a legend of the club.

Matt Fettel asked: “I’m sure all the fans hope to see the legend Lukas Smital retained as head coach. Will this happen?”

Ben Beeching said: “Yes”, while Andrew Cross added: “Very much so! For me, he is a Bracknell icon.”

The future of the Great Britain programme was also on the agenda, with ‘GB Ice Hockey Future' asking: “I would like to know your opinion for the under-20s league and if it will be the next investment for Wayne.”

That question was answered by both Wayne Scholes and Ben Beeching. Mr Scholes said: “This is where I get into trouble! I’m afraid I am awful at politics. You will always get an honest answer.”

Mr Beeching, meanwhile, added: “My personal opinion is that I believe there’s a lot to be thought out by IHUK and EIHA around this, starting with ice time, potential conflict and impact on under-18s and EPL.”

Another fan was Jon W, who asked about the future of Bracknell's merchandise: "Can we expect a wider range of merchandise, going forward? I know The Tigers have a shop now."

That was an issue tackled by Wayne Scholes, who said: "Every team should have a shop! We will certainly be collaborating on merchandise."

One of the final questions was asked by Mr Roboto, who said: “With investment, The Tigers and now The Bees will always be linked with a step up. How long are plans to stay EPL?”

Wayne Scholes, who has watched The Tigers lift the league title this season, answered: “I will never say never. I don’t know what I don’t know, but right now I am focused on stability and growth in the EPL.”​

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