John Dibble Returns to Bristol

John Dibble, the Bristol Pitbulls all-time leader for games played by a goalie, has agreed to return to the club for the 2021-22 season.

Dibble was part of the very first Pitbulls team who won the Division 2 title in 2009-10. Over the following six seasons, he made the position between Bristol’s pipes his own and firmly set himself as one of the league’s standout goalies. The pinnacle of that spell came in 2015 when Dibble backstopped the Pitbulls through a 20-game winning streak that resulted in a league and playoff double.

In total, Dibble played 215 games for Bristol, placing him fourth in the all-time list and making him one of only five members of the elite 200-game club.

Dibble said: “To tell you that I am excited about coming back to play for Bristol Pitbulls would be an understatement. After speaking to Jamie, Bristol ice hockey has a great future ahead of it and I’m excited to be a part of it and to work with a coach of Jamie’s calibre.

“It all started back in Bristol twelve years ago when Richie took a chance signing me in Bristol Pitbulls first season. I have some great memories playing for Bristol including winning the league and being promoted in our first season, winning the NIHL 2 league and playoffs a few years later and I hope we can make many more in the seasons to come.

“Since leaving the Pitbulls I have played most of my hockey in Gillingham for Invicta Dynamos, winning the NIHL 1 playoffs with fellow returnee Ozzy, which was an incredible experience.

“Rich has done an amazing job keeping the team going since the rink has been closed putting out a strong team each year, which I have been lucky enough to play against a few times whilst playing for Swindon and Oxford. I can’t wait to get back the ice and bring ice hockey back to Bristol in front of many noisy Pitbulls fans!”

Pitbulls coach Jamie Elson was delighted to sign a player that ticked so many of his boxes.

Elson said: “Bringing John back to Bristol was an easy decision.  He has great playing experience in NIHL1 already, along with a great deal of NIHL2 experience.  This includes eight years playing with the Pitbulls so will be no stranger to many of the team.

“He again is a player who has experience of winning championships, having had league and playoff success with Bristol, as well as the South NIHL1 playoff title with Steve Osman in Invicta, and this is big for us. We want guys who know what it takes to be successful and win.

“His stats are consistent and he has seen a steady improvement year by year, having some of his best years more recently.   Speaking with John, he was passionate about playing for Bristol and being part of what we are trying to build here.   He is well known to many of the guys on the team, and everyone I spoke with had nothing but great things to say about him.  It just feels like a great fit for us both. 

“We are really looking for a strong goaltending tandem.  Two guys who are going to compete for ice time, and John is a great start to that.”

Dibble’s home jersey will be owned and loaned by Louise Dibble. His away jersey and alternate jersey are still available for own and loan. He is also available for player sponsorship through our Adopt a Pitbull programme. Email Richie Hargreaves at for more details.

John Dibble makes a glove save on Joe Tearall.