BRACKNELL Bees are playing their part in trying to prevent National Ice Hockey League rivals Milton Keynes Thunder from folding before Christmas.

MK have revealed they are in serious financial trouble, admitting: “Competing in this league has stretched our finances to breaking point. Low attendances mean the club is losing money on every game and we find ourselves needing to find £10k to complete the season.

MK Thunder can only continue after December 16 if we manage to raise this additional money, so we have set up a crowdfunding page as we explore every avenue to rescue the club.”

And they look on course to reach their target with close to £7,000 having been raised by early this week.

Bees boss Doug Sheppard said: "Hopefully, everyone will rally around and they will be able to finish the season. You never want to see a team in that position and we are pulling for them.

"We will do our part in helping them to raise money. Everyone in the league is doing what they can."

If Thunder, who are currently second-from-bottom of the table, are forced to pull out, it would leave the South One division with only seven teams for the rest of the season.

Bees are due to visit Milton Keynes on January 6.

This coming Saturday, Sheppard takes his side to Gillingham to face struggling Invicta Dynamos (5.15pm) for the second week running. And they should complete a quick double, having defeated the bottom club 5-1 at The Hive last Saturday.

Following that win, Sheppard told the News: "Coming off two losses, it was important we got back on the winning board. It was a good job done – a solid two points."

On Sunday, however, they lost 4-2 to Raiders at Romford despite taking a two-goal lead in the opening 15 minutes and out-shooting their hosts 52-34 over 60 minutes.

But they paid the price for a lack of discipline which saw them finish with a total of 39 penalty minutes, Ryan Watt collecting 25 of them as well as being thrown out of the game.

Skipper Joe Baird and Ryan Sutton missed both games due to injury and are unlikely to be risked against Invicta, but Sheppard hopes they will be fit to resume the following weekend when Bees face M4 rivals Swindon Wildcats home and away.