The Bristol Honda Pitbulls are thrilled to announce Reece Kelly will be joining the Pitbulls, signing in BS10 on a two-way contract with the Cardiff Devils. 

Born in Fife, Kelly moved over to Canada to play in the Ontario Hockey Academy where he played for three seasons. Kelly then moved south to play in the USPHL for the New Hampshire Jr Monarchs in the 2019-20 season.  

Kelly spent 2020-21 in the Norway U21 league with the Stavanger Oilers before moving across to Finland in 2021-22, playing for IPK in the Finnish U20 league. Kelly finished the season with 28 points in 34 games, third of all defensemen in the division. 

Reece Kelly is looking forward to a return to British hockey, using his experience of Europe’s top junior leagues to help the Pitbulls. He said “After being away in North America and Europe for the last six years I think it is a good time for me to return to the UK to play. Bristol really caught my eye, with the team coming back to the city with a lot of buzz and potential. I look forward to being a part of the new era in Bristol. 

“Also, getting the opportunity on the two-way contract with the Cardiff Devils was a big attraction. They are a top team in the Elite League with a great culture and excellent set-up which seems a great fit for me returning home. 

“The last couple of years I’ve split between the top U20 league in Norway and the U20 ‘Mestis’ League in Finland, where I was one of the top scoring defencemen. Both of these leagues are highly competitive and full of top young players. Being in these leagues allowed me to be on the ice every day, greatly helping me develop my game.” 

Reece describes himself as being “A two-way defenceman that likes to join the rush who reads the game well, which helps him create offence. I like to use my size and be physical which helps me become a more productive point scorer and look after the defensive zone.” 

Jamie Elson is delighted to strengthen the blue line further with the signing of Reece. He said “We couldn’t be happier with the addition of Reece to the team that we are building for our first year in National League. He has been abroad for a few years and has been developing as a player and really leaving a big impression on the teams and leagues that he has played in.  

“I have been able to watch a lot of his game video, as well as speak to his coaches so we have a great picture of what we are getting. I was also really impressed with Reece in the calls we had and where his head was with regards to his development and progression in the next few years. 

“He is a really mobile offensive defenseman who skates well. He has a great shot, and we loved how he carries pucks and controls the play at the attacking blue line, he’s a player who’s hard to contain and he will be a threat every time he’s on the ice. But he is also a strong two-way player who brings some physicality within his game, which means he is really going to be a big asset for us at both ends of the ice. At 21 he is another young British prospect and a player we are excited to have coming to Bristol for the next stage of his development. 

“He will also be linking up with the Cardiff Devils as part of our two-way partnership and that will be great for him to be around guys from Elite League level as we really want to push him hard over this next season. I know he’s excited to be part of the project we are building in Bristol, as well as getting across to train with the Devils and it should be a great set up for him. Once again, we can’t thank the Devils organisation enough for looking at Reece and offering a spot on the two-way link-up. 

“Reece has had a great few years abroad and knows Ed Bradley well as they were both playing in Canada during the same spell, but for rival academies, and it was through Ed that we got speaking to Reece. Ed was very positive about Reece’s game and what he could bring for us in Bristol. Last year in Finland U20 league Reece led the league for goals for a defenceman and finished 3rd in points for a defenceman, so that shows where he is currently. 

“Speaking to his coaches from Finland and Norway they both gave Reece glowing references from his time with them both, and they really praised the type of player he is and the impact he could have as an outstanding prospect. They also commented on how popular he was off ice in the changing room and around the rink and again that is something we are taking very seriously as we build a group to represent Bristol this year. We have a great core of people on and off ice and we are excited to be adding another player who we feel will really fit our ethos and culture.”