The Bracknell Bees are saddened to announce that defenceman Carl Graham has opted to step down from the club and from the English Premier Ice Hockey League with immediate effect.
The 32 year old, Reading born defenceman has over fifteen years senior level ice hockey to his name with the Slough Jets, Bracknell Hornets, Wightlink Raiders, Manchester Phoenix, Basingstoke Bison and of course the Bracknell Bees.
Carl iced for the Bees in the 2009/10 and 2011/12 seasons and returned to the Bees at the start of last season and returned for another year in the Black, White and Gold again this season.
In 2013/14 he was part of the Basingstoke Bison English Premier Ice Hockey league Cup and Playoff Championship double winning side and followed that up the following year with a National Ice Hockey League (South) Playoff Championship win with the Wightlink Raiders.
The Bracknell Bees players, management and volunteers wish to thank Carl for all his energies and efforts in his time with the Bees and all wish him all the best for his future whatever it may hold.
Speaking on the news Lukas Smital, Bracknell Bees Head Coach remarked:
“Whilst it is always a disappointment to lose any player from your squad loosing Carls experience on the ice and team ethic and spirit off the ice make it even more disappointing that he has made this decision. I and the club however respect his wishes and have agreed to his request and he leaves with our best wishes and thanks for all his time with the Bees”.
Below is farewell note that Carl has asked us to pass on to everyone:
“As a kid, being a professional Ice Hockey player was the only thing I ever wanted to do and no matter what, I was determined to get there. I was not necessarily naturally gifted but I had desire and determination on my side to get me there.
Hockey has taught me a lot of life skills and given me amazing experiences I would never of had. I have been lucky enough to travel to many different countries and most importantly, be part of a “family” beyond what I could ever have imagined possible. The memories and friendships I have gained are endless and I am fortunate to have these.
I have learnt in life to never take anything for granted because you never know what is around the corner. At some point, all good things come to an end.
So with all that said, it is with a heavy heart, that I would like to announce I am stepping down from playing EPIHL hockey for good.
It’s been an absolute roller coaster at times but there is nothing that can replace the feeling and enjoyment that it’s brought. I have had the time of my life and wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
The list of people that have helped me along the way is endless and I truly thank each and every person that has helped me during my career. If you think there’s a chance that it was you, then it likely was.
As much as I would love to continue to play EPIHL, the sacrifice and dedication needed to compete at this level is now more than I can give.
I have a full time career demanding more of my time than ever, as well as ambitious plans to continue to grow my property portfolio.
Along with wanting to travel a little and see more of the world, I’m being kept busy at home planning a wedding as life’s priorities change.
Hockey has taught me so much, and now is the time for me to apply this to other aspects of my life.
This will absolutely not be the end of hockey for me as I will still be looking to play, just with a schedule that is a little more forgiving.
I don’t know what will come next but I’m excited to find out and explore what opportunities may be on the horizon.
I would like to say it’s been an honour to be part of the Bees this season. I always wanted my last EPIHL season to be as a Bee as it’s where hockey began for me and I’m thankful to Smits for the opportunity to come back and for giving me the reality check I needed all those years ago, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without that.
I honestly wish everyone involved at every level, every success with the club moving forwards.
Lastly, thanks to all the guys for the last training session, I will miss you all. Good luck for the rest of the season!”