Resurgent Bristol Pitbulls aim to make it four wins in a row
BRISTOL Pitbulls will be looking to make it four wins in a row when they host Slough Jets at their temporary rink in Swindon on Saturday.
The Pitbulls, who have had to relocate to Swindon due to the issues surrounding their own rink in Bristol, have beaten Chelmsford Warriors, Cardiff Devils and Basingstoke Buffalo in their last three National Ice Hockey League South 2 matches.
After a difficult start to the season, which player-coach Richie Hargreaves believes was not aided by the disruption over the Bristol rink, the Pitbulls are now back on track.
"The situation with the rink in Bristol has been a little bit unsettling, because we didn't have any consistency with our training patterns at the start of the season," said Hargreaves.
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"But the guys have settled down now, we have found a temporary home in Swindon and that has given us a bit of consistency to our training.
"We have probably got one of the youngest squads in the league, and it has taken time to get used to the systems, but the guys have really been playing well together in the last three or four games.
"Earlier in the season, I was probably guilty of trying to over-complicate the system, but we have gone back to basics and changed the style a bit and everyone has really bought into it.
"Confidence has also started to be a factor and all areas and all departments are starting to click now."
The future of ice hockey in Bristol is uncertain after councillors recently voted to approve new student flats on the site of the existing rink on Frogmore Street.
But Hargreaves is determined to ensure the hard work the Pitbulls have done in promoting the sport in the city is not wasted while they play their home games 38 miles away in Swindon.
"We have found an ideal home away from home in Swindon, but we obviously want to get back to Bristol, because we are a Bristol-based team and we want to promote the sport here and carry on the legacy of Bristol ice hockey," said Hargreaves.
"But we've got to do the best we can in the situation we're in and, at the moment, we're just playing it by ear on a month-by-month basis.
"We have a fantastic fan-base in Bristol, with so much loyalty, and even now, when we are on the road, we are getting great support from the people of Bristol."