Star defenceman Chris Cooke will once again don the colours of the Bracknell Hornets as the team starts to take shape ahead of the 20/21 season.
The 25 year old blueliner who captained the team last season came through the junior ranks in Guildford, making his senior debut for the Flames not long after his 17th birthday during the league and cup double winning campaign. Across three seasons with the Flames, Cooke picked up two league trophies and two EPL Cups.
During the 13/14 season, Cooke split his time with the Flames and the Invicta Dynamos on a 2 way contract. Although a permanent Invicta contract was signed in the summer of 2014, the majority of the 14/15 season was spent with the Wightlink Raiders. It was a move forced by a change of circumstance, but a move which once again saw Cooke add to his already impressive silverware collection as the Raiders pipped the Dynamos to the NIHL 1 South Playoff championship.
In October 2016, the Isle of Wight residents and the UK hockey community were stunned when the Ryde Arena was suddenly closed by its owners, forcing the demise of the Wightlink Raiders after just 4 games of the new season. Cooke was quickly snapped by Streatham by former Raiders Coach, Jeremy Cornish. Cooke spent the next couple of years with Streatham before moving to the Basingstoke Bison in the summer of 2018.
Cooke Captained Team GB at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Russia, the second largest winter multi-sport event in the world, joining the Hornets just 3 short months later where he captained the team to a respectable 4th place in the league.
Chris Cooke: “It was an easy decision to come back to the Hornets for the upcoming season. Although last season was challenging for us with so many injuries, it was really enjoyable and it was great to see the younger players grow and develop throughout the season.
“I know Mark and Matt are going to put together a great group of guys and I’m certain we will be pushing for all the silverware on offer. It was unfortunate the season was cut short as we really started to come together just before playoffs. Hopefully we will see hockey back soon!”
Head Coach Mark Saunders: “I’m very pleased to get Cookie back with us for another season, he is a key part of our team from this past season and would walk onto any other team in the league without doubt. His play last season kept us steady at key moments and the leadership provided by him was second to none.
“He is a team first guy, great in the locker room but is always game ready when its time to play, a mix which is hard to get right but he does it so well. Cookie will be a key player again for us next season and I know he is looking forward to the challenge to push on be a formidable team again.
“Welcome back Cookie!”