Cardiff Fire forward Sam Smith. Pic: Oliver Hampson.
Cardiff Fire are building towards launching their 2017-18 season playing in the second tier of British ice hockey.
Callum Buglass, a 20-year-old defenceman, and 6ft 3ins forward Sam Smith have both signed, while Fire have announced partnerships with Ice Time TV and Xtreme Edges.
Head coach Mark Cuddihy and his team will compete in an eight-team National Hockey League South Division along with Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison, Invicta Dynamos, London Raiders, Milton Keynes Thunder, Peterborough Phantoms, Streatham and Swindon Wildcats.
Buglass joins Fire after spending the last two seasons playing English Premier League hockey for Swindon Wildcats, while he was also on a two-way contract with Elite League Cardiff Devils.
He first played at Elite level in 2012 at the age of 16 and has been involved in 27 matches at the top level.
Buglass, who took up the sport in Cardiff’s junior system, has represented England and Great Britain at u-18 and u-20 levels.
His first EPL season saw Callum ice 48 times for Wildcats, scoring nine points (1 goal, 8 assists), but he sustained an injury which ended 2016-17 after only 14 fixtures.
He has been working hard this summer through his rehab and is already back on the ice 100 per cent fit and ready to play.
“I have coached Callum since he was a 15 year old,” says Cuddihy. “He skates with our NIHL team while he was still in 16 hockey.
“Watching him develop into a professional and international hockey player has been great. He has a fantastic supportive family around him and his success has come as no surprise to me.
“He’s a tall D-man with a great reach, is extremely hard to get around, has a good passing range and is quick.
“Callum knows the areas he has to work on to make that jump up to Elite League hockey and is working hard on those.
“He is incredibly coachable, super ambitious and has the perfect attitude to make it to the top of British hockey.
“I will be putting a lot of responsibility on Callum’s shoulders this season and I am sure we will all see him grasp it with both hands.”
Forward Smith, who played for Devils in their World record-breaking season, has also committed to Fire.
He played for Okanagan Rockets in Canada and American club before joining Devils in 2010. That was the season in which Devils broke the Guinness World record for the number of wins in a row.
Smith played on the third line, scoring an impressive 36 points in 58 games, and was voted best young British player of the year.
Before joining Fire he had a further year in the Elite League with Coventry Blaze and joined EPL Swindon Wildcats, scoring 33 points.
A further two season spent in Dubai’s top league then saw him return to Cardiff and Fire where he was a standout player for the club.
“Sam was a top priority to bring back for this first season in the 2nd tier,” said Cuddihy. “He’s no stranger to top level hockey in the UK and his experience and skill set were imperative to us in this league.
“Sam was a leader for us last season, he joined us part way through the season and immediately hit the ground running. He’s a powerful player and his shot is ridiculous.
“He’s still young at 25 and in great shape. He’s a real good dressing room guy and a huge asset to our club.”
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