The Bristol Honda Pitbulls and the Cardiff Devils have formalised an affiliation agreement for the 2022-23 season.
The agreement will see up to three Pitbulls on two-way agreements with the Devils, allowing the players to train on a regular basis in Cardiff with the Elite League club.
Pitbulls head coach Jamie Elson was previously an assistant coach in Cardiff, a role he held for three & a half years under Andrew Lord, helping the Devils to back-to-back League Titles, two Challenge Cups and a Playoff Championship.
Jamie remains close with the Devils and was asked back to be a bench coach in the Champions Hockey League at the start of the 21-22 season when the Devils’ coaching staff were side-lined with Covid.
Pitbulls owner Richie Hargreaves had the following to say:
“This is an exciting time for the Bristol Pitbulls organisation as we look to start our future as a National League club. We are building and want to be a young, dynamic club, and a location where high potential young players want to come to play and develop.
“Having the opportunity to partner ourselves alongside the Devils to offer a pathway to Elite League for these young players is an exciting prospect. Both myself and Jamie are passionate about supporting future British talent and we know that the set up in Cardiff is a great place for these players to learn and develop into future Elite League players.
“We hope this will be the start of a long and successful partnership with the Cardiff Devils organisation and can’t wait to see players take advantage of the opportunities ahead. We believe that in years to come the partnership will show it’s worth with players hopefully breaking into the Devils line-up at Elite league level.”
The Devils Managing Director Todd Kelman spoke about the affiliation:
“We have had a keen interest in how things have been going in Bristol over the last season and it was exciting to see the sold-out crowds for the Pitbulls for their first season in their new rink.
“The jump to the NIHL was an obvious move and the close proximity to Cardiff as well as our ongoing relationship with Jamie and Rich Hargreaves makes this a great arrangement for us and for them as well.
“They will be able to send their best talent to train with us and get valuable experience at the Elite level, and for the young players, hopefully this is a pathway into the Elite League for them, whether that is with the Devils or another team.
“We are excited to partner with the Pitbulls, we love what we have seen, and we look forward to seeing how they adapt to the NIHL National. One thing we know is their support has been tremendous and I hope that continues to grow this season.”