BRACKNELL Bees have appointed Doug Sheppard as their new head coach for the 2018/19 campaign.

It is a real coup for the club as he is regarded as one of the best coaches in British ice hockey, having guided Basingstoke Bison to a treble last season.

Sheppard had “shocked” the Hampshire outfit by turning down a new contract on May 5 and a week later it was confirmed he had joined league rivals Bees.

The 41-year-old Canadian said he was “impressed and excited” by the long-term commitment of the Bees directors, adding: “I was delighted to accept the opportunity to join the Bracknell organisation.

“I know first-hand how passionate the fans are here.

“I look forward to their support as I work to bring a successful future back to a club which has enjoyed so much success in the past.”

He won six trophies in seven seasons with Basingstoke, having previously gained honours as a player and coach at Sheffield Steelers and Slough Jets.

Meanwhile, Scott Spearing, who was the club’s player-coach last season, remains at The Hive as assistant coach and player for next season.

Club captain Aaron Connolly and defenceman Dan Scott have also left Basingstoke in the last week and Sheppard will certainly be looking to strengthen Bees’ squad.

Bracknell finished last season 22 points behind Bison in fifth place.