The Bristol Honda Pitbulls are delighted to announce the signing of former Nottingham Panthers netminder Will Kerlin, who signs on a two-way deal with the Cardiff Devils.
Born in Bedford, Kerlin spent his youth career with Milton Keynes and Guildford before jetting off to Canada, playing in the Ontario Hockey Academy for four years. During that time Kerlin was a regular fixture in GB’s youth squads, playing at four different World Championships for GB.
Since returning to the UK from Canada, Kerlin has spent time with England’s two biggest hockey clubs, playing for the Sheffield Steelers pre-Covid before signing in Nottingham for the 2021-22 season.
Will has heard great things about the city and can’t wait to get out playing in The Pound. He said “I had several conversations with Jamie [Elson] and he sold the club to me with what he had to say and his visions for the team. I’ve heard that Bristol is a great city, and the Pound is a great place to play. The attendances have been high at every game and the fans make themselves heard. I am really excited to play in front of them.
“Spending the last couple of years around the Elite League I have gained a lot of knowledge about being a professional player. I have had three very good mentors in Thomas Duba, Ben Bowns & Kevin Carr who I have learnt a lot from. Being able to practise every day with experienced players who have played in leagues all around the world has been very valuable for my development. Also just being able to ice in the Elite League has been very beneficial for me and sets me up well for this season in the National League.”
Jamie Elson reveals a recommendation from a former Cardiff Devils netminder helped seal the Kerlin deal, and Jamie is delighted to have it signed. He said “We are thrilled to be welcoming Will to the Bristol Pitbulls and complete our Goalie pair for the season ahead. Will was put to us through Ben Bowns who is back with the Cardiff Devils for the year ahead, and someone I lean on for advice and feedback with goalies. Bownsy knows Will well and has worked with him a fair bit. He got to be around Will for a few weeks at the end of last season in Nottingham and put in some coaching time with Will.
“When we were speaking, he was very positive about Will and what his potential is, given a chance to play and develop further. As we developed that conversation, we were able to agree terms with Will and have him signed as part of the two-way partnership we are building with the Devils. So, he will have opportunities to train in Cardiff and Bristol, as well as play game time with us. He spent last year as number two for Nottingham in the Elite league, and before that some time in Sheffield.
“He spent four years in Canada prior where he was roommates with Reece Kelly. He is another player that has had that experience playing abroad in an academy environment, and added to that, he represented GB at U18’s twice and then U20’s twice. He played with Tyler that final year, so they already know each other, and Ed Bradley and Caly Robertson were on those GB teams, so he already knows a good few guys in Bristol.
“I liked the conversations we have had and feel he will fit in well with the group of players we have. I know he is excited to be on board, and he knows it’s a big opportunity this year. He will get training time and the chance to play far more than he has recently. Speaking to several other players and coaches they were all very positive about Will. Players have told us about how hard he works in practice which was great to hear.
“Having Will and Tyler who are two young goalies is something we were keen on as an organisation. We are a young group and really focussed on building a core foundation for the future and goalies are such a vital part of that. They are going to push each other hard on a daily basis to be the best they can be and that’s the type of environment we are trying to create throughout the team.”