We at Y-Ddraig would like to thank Sam for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us and our Ice Hockey fans, where he lets on who is the dressing room joker……or not!
- At what age did you take up Ice Hockey?
Answer:- I started playing when I was 12 after watching my cousin play out in Sweden.
2. Does your jersey number 56 have any significance? If so, what is it?
Answer:- I used to play the number 23 because its my birthday date, but it got taken and the only number I could think of was my house number, 56, haha
3. Do you have a nickname?
Answer:- I have a few, but the one that’s stuck is Kenneth which is my middle name.
4. Who out of the current team is the dressing room joker?
Answer:- It’s hard to pinpoint just one, the team is made up of jokers, except for Chris Hart and Phil Manny, because their jokes are horrendous, hahaha.
5. Who is the best player you have played with?
Answer:- I’ve played alongside many different players with distinct abilities, each individual brings something different to the game. It’s too hard to pick a best player.
6. Who is the best player you have played against?
Answer:- Getting the opportunity to play against people I have grown up watching like Phil Hill and Max Birbraer has been an amazing experience.
7. You won the NIHL division 2 title with the Fire last year, what other honours have you won?
Answer:- Apart from winning with the Fire last year, at 15 years of age, I won the England under 18s championships.
8. What are your ambitions in Ice Hockey? Do you hope to make the step to the Elite League?
Answer:- Having iced in the Elite League for the Manchester Storm on two occasions, it’s definitely enhanced my determination of one day stepping up to that level and made me all the more ambitious to do so.
9. As you have just mentioned, you were able to guest for the Manchester Storm last season, how did this come about and how soon before the game did you find out?
Answer:- I was notified the day before the game as Manchester were short on players, and after speaking to ‘Cudd’ (Mark Cuddihy, Cardiff Fire Head Coach), he told me to go for it. I did and it was a great experience.
Sam Bryant, who has already iced for the Elite League’s Manchester Storm, in action against the Swindon Wildcats.
10. You are now into your second season with the Fire, are you enjoying this season as much as the last? and is it difficult being on the receiving end of some tough results as opposed to dishing them out?
Answer:- Last season was a great season, one of my best, from the games,the team and the support. This season is extremely tough, but it’s a learning curve as we are a new team in a new league. I’m lucky to have the best support from my family that attend every home and away game. I couldn’t be more thankful.
11. How difficult has the step up to NIHL 1 been from a players perspective?
Answer:- The physical aspect of it, the players, the amount of games has all stepped up to a whole new level of hockey.
12. From what I have witnessed over the last couple of seasons, the players seem to have a great camaraderie. How well have the new players integrated into the team?
Answer:- The new players have integrated into the team really well. The imports Manning and Allner have settled in (David Manning and Kalle Allner), I’ve played against Stratford and Lawday ( Michael Stratford and Jordan Lawday), for a few years and it’s great to be able to now play with them. They’re all really talented players. Also Sheppard and Jackson (Elis Sheppard and Jackson Price) have really improved and I love these guys.
13. Cardiff Devils player Luke Piggott signed a two-way deal with the Fire this season, how important is it to the younger players like yourself, Tamas Elias, Elis Sheppard and Jackson Price to have this sort of experience on the team?
Answer:- For us younger players it’s an incredible opportunity having players like Luke Piggott and Nicky Chinn as part of the team on and off the ice, getting the chance to learn from their experiences as elite professionals.
14. You have become an important player for the Fire and are frequently used on both the penalty kill and power play teams, has this benefitted you?
Answer:- Getting the opportunity to play on both the penalty kill and power play has enabled me to strengthen my capability as a player, as well as adapt to the physicality level that this season holds.
15. Despite your smaller stature compared to many of your opponents, you don’t seem shy in roughing it up out there when required. Is this part of the game that you enjoy?
Answer:- This is a big question for a small guy, but I love how this part of the games physicality gets the game, the crowd and the atmosphere going and as a player is a massive part of my game.
16. It seems like the NHL league in America are attempting to clean up the game and eradicate the so-called “Enforcer”. Do you feel this part of the game is necessary and adds to the whole hockey experience?
Answer:- I do think it’s important and therefore a necessary part of the game. In certain games the morale needs a boost and this is a way of doing so.
17. Who is your favourite NHL player and who are your favourite NHL team?
Answer:- My favourite NHL team is the New Jersey Devils and my favourite player would be Alexander Ovechkin.
18. Who is your favourite Elite league player and your favourite Elite league team?
Answer:- My favourite Elite league team is the Cardiff Devils haha, and my favourite player is Robert Lachowicz who plays for the Nottingham Panthers, he’s such a fast player.
Many thanks again to Sam for taking time out from his work and hockey commitments to answer these questions.
You can follow Sam on twitter @97sambryant
You can find out when the Fire have their next home fixture on their website http://www.cardiff-fire.com
All picture credits for the article – Oliver Hampson. Thanks Oliver for providing these pictures.