Brad Watchorn, a professional full contact mixed martial arts fighter, has signed for Cardiff Fire.
Bracknell’s Brad, who fights under the name ‘Bellator’ in MMA, has joined Fire’s quest to succeed in the second tier of British ice hockey.
Watchorn will certainly add a touch of steel to the Fire line-up at Ice Arena Wales and he says: “I’m really excited to be coming and playing in Cardiff, a place I have loved going to and playing at for many years.
“I’ve had a short break, but am looking to come back with a bang and impress the fans with my style of play.”
Head coach Mark Cuddihy predicts that the signing of Watchorn will make his Fire team ‘horrible’ to play against – and that hockey fans will love watching him in action.
“I’m extremely happy to have Brad with us,” says Cuddihy. “He’s a super tough player, but he can also play and that’s important to us. “When he’s played at this level he’s had a point a game average.
“Brad can also play in a number of roles. We have a young team and we’re getting younger, but we also have a tough team.
“I wanted to add another dynamic to that and Brad certainly ticks that box. He will certainly stick up for himself and his teammates and make us horrible to play against.
“I’ve never enjoyed coaching against him as he’s always played in a top six and never took a night off. He hits hard and is always ready to step up when his teams have needed him.
“Cardiff hockey fans are going to absolutely love him.”
Watchers, 27, balances his MMA fighting career with playing hockey.
He started playing in Bracknell junior teams and then made the move to Canada to play in Canada’s Greater Metro Junior Hockey League, representing both Richmond Hill Rams and Espanola Kings.
After returning to the UK he signed for English Premier League Bracknell Bees in the EPL also played in the Elite League for Basingstoke Bison. In 2008-09 he moved to EPL team Wightlink Raiders and, still a youngster, started to make a name for himself as a tough competitor.
Brad spent the next two years playing in National League One between Bracknell and Wightlink, scoring 65 points in 64 games, before moving back up to the EPL with Bracknell Bees.
Between 2012 and 2016 he has split his time between the EPL and NIHL for Invicta, Bracknell and Slough, amassing an astonishing 1,201 penalty mins in 316 games.
Watchorn joins Tamas Elias, Sam Bryant, Alex Symonds, Sam Smith, Callum Buglass and Great Britain under-20 international Michael Stratford in the Fire team.