LUKAS Smital has paid a glowing tribute to the many people responsible for keeping Bracknell Bees alive, writes Dave Wright.

The club’s player-coach, who is also one of their three directors, said: “Last April and May we looked down and buried. But we did survive thanks to the support and hard work of many people. We did something that had not been done before at this club.

“So we must thank all the players, the off-ice staff, all the match-night volunteers, supporters and say a special thank you to Matt and Carol (fellow directors Fettel and Miller).”

Smital was speaking at the club’s end-of-season awards evening last Wednesday, which was well attended by players, staff and supporters.

He continued: “Unfortunately, we lost more games than we won, and we had some tough times, but there was always people to help us to get through.

“Our supporters are amazing. Even if we were losing, they kept cheering and didn’t quit on us – the players really appreciated that.”

His comments were echoed by Fettel, the fan who became a director when the Bees were struggling for survival a year ago.

Addressing a packed-out restaurant at Blue’s Smokehouse in High Street, Bracknell, Fettel said: “Everyone here stood by the club when we looked dead and buried last year. It took a lot of work by every single person in this room to bring the club back.

“Thank you for supporting us (the directors). Your support – vocally, financially, emotionally – has been absolutely incredible and very much appreciated.”