BRACKNELL, UK – In most UK hockey clubs there are officials and volunteers who sometimes get taken for granted, but in Bracknell a group of hockey players are determined to make sure that the memory of their former manager Larry Lee burns bright despite his passing late last year.
The Bracknell Hornets were admittedly a rag tag bunch back in 2005 when Larry Lee became involved with the team as manager.
Competing in the English National League on a shoe string budget, the Hornets were gradually dragged into a more professional approach to their hockey, thanks to Larry’s enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile to make sure the players could be ready for both training and games.
By the time he retired in 2010, the team had lifted the ENL South Play-Off trophy to the surprise of many.
It was a dream ending for a man who had selflessly devoted himself to travelling up and down the country each weekend and attending late night midweek training sessions at the Hive.
“There is little about the Hornets’ organisation that is not now professional and despite the hard work by a huge number of people that has dragged the team along, all of the foundations were laid by Larry Lee” explained former Hornets player James Galazzi, who now ices for the Bracknell Bees in the EPL.
“Be it negotiating deals with hotel chains to get cheap XL towels, bath mats for the players to stand on, shampoo, shower gel, waters bottles, face towels, visor tissue and getting guys equipment when they needed it, Larry was determined that all the players needed to do was turn up and concentrate on playing as he would literally take care of the rest”
“He brought a new level of professionalism to the Hornets, one that has continued and prospered since he stepped down”
The players led by former Hornet Chris Beauclerk and Trevor Petch are paying tribute to Larry by playing a charity hockey match (what else would do) in aid of prostate cancer.
The game will feature past and present Hornets and should be a great summer hockey fix for all those in the area who remember Larry or simply want watch some of Bracknell’s finest in pre-season action.
The game will take place at the rink where they all grew up and where Larry would stand on the bench on game days, proud of his lads in yellow and black.
“He was universally liked by everyone on the team and a constant in the changing room as other players came and went” said current Hornets defenceman Mike Plenty.
“Looking through my phone I can see I still have his number stored as ‘Happy Larry’, a reflection on the positive attitude he possessed and the fact he made Bracknell ice rink a better place to be”
“At times his commitment to the team bordered on over-enthusiasm, such as when he would send multiple texts to remind us of every single training session, or arrange a bus to an away game at Peterborough that had us arrive at the rink 5 hours before face-off”
“A striking feature was his infectious, hearty laugh that was often affectionately imitated round the changing room although no one could ever quite match the man himself”
“I think that he brought the team together more than he probably realised, and for me one of the highlights of winning the play-offs in 2010 was the privilege of having Larry lead us round the ice at the end of his final game with us”
The Larry Lee Memorial Game will take place on Saturday 24 August with a 6pm face-off at Bracknell ice rink. Admission is free but there will be buckets collecting for charity, or people can donate online at the link at the bottom of this article.
Larry Lee Memorial Game Line-ups
Jon ANDERSON #16
Tony BARCLAY #11
Chris BEAUCLERK #19
Steve CAMERON #14
Lachlan COOMBE #17
Daniel DAVIES #4
Ben DUGGAN #20
James GALAZZI #10
Lee HARDY #18
Dominic HOPKINS #28
Matt JORDAN #25
Adam MARASHI #31
Matt OVENDEN #8
Mark PETCH #33
Tom SMITH #12
Craig TRIBE #24
Brad WATCHORN #77
Chris WIGGINS #82
Tom AVERY #3
Alex BARKER #7
Graham BELLAMY #6
Graeme BIRD #35
Brett CANDON #9
Dave COLLINS #4
Tom FISHER #21
Olli FOXLEY #89
Mark GALAZZI #72
Richard HARDY #22
Danny HOUSE #59
Danny HUGHES #19
Dan MARASHI #17
Gareth O’FLAHERTY #23
Luke REYNOLDS #27
Grant ROUNDING #26
Lewis TURNER #5
Vaughn WILLIAMS #18
David WRIDE #31
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To donate online please visit the link below: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/LarrysBoys