So, apparently National Best Friends day is a thing, they’ll celebrate anything nowadays it seems.
But the Cardiff Devils used this day for good use, announcing the return of GB Number 1 Ben Bowns, as well as his trusted backup Thomas Murdy for the 2018/19 EIHL season.
The two British goalies have been partnered together in Cardiff for the past two seasons, while Bowns is entering his fifth year in the Welsh capital.
Last season as the Devils captured their second straight league title, Bowns put up a .912 save percentage and 2.43 goals against average in 51 games. Murdy featured 11 times in the regular season with a .886 save percentage and 2.76 goals against average.
Credit: Helen Brabon
Both players were part of Team GBs success this April, with Bowns backstopping GB to a gold medal while Murdy was the third string goalie behind Jackson Whistle.
With the two British goalies back for another year, head coach Andrew Lord was full of praise for them saying “The strength of our goaltending gives us a chance to win every night
“I believe we have the best goaltending team in the EIHL. Bownsy has been superb for us and has now proven himself as the best in the league over the last few years.
“Murdy is the perfect goaltending partner to compliment Bownsy. He is always an option and pushes Bownsy every day to get better. When he steps into a game, nothing changes in front of him. The guys are comfortable playing in front of either one of them.
“To win in this league you need to have 2 goalies that you have confidence in. There is always going to be a starter and a backup, but you need to have two guys that comes to work every day with an attitude of wanting to improve and wanting to push the team to get better. We have that with Bowns and Murdy.”
The signings also allow Devils fans to relax. With the stellar play of Bowns at the World Championships, and Ben O’Connor leaving the Steelers for the KHL, some feared Bowns may be leaving the league for a more lucrative contract in Europe.
However, Bowns was quick to explain his reason for staying in Cardiff on Twitter by saying “This summer made me realise how great the Cardiff Devils organistion is.
“There’s a lot of factors that go into these decisions & it’s 100% the right place for me & @jdsims91 at the moment. I’m excited about what this next year is going to bring!”
The signings bring more stability to the squad as well. With seven players announced for 2018/19, fans were beginning to get restless, particularly with Andrew Hotham not returning which was announced just a few days ago.
Now with two British goalies back, it frees up a spot for Andrew Lord to fill with an import skater as the Devils look to make it 3 league titles in a row.
So far the Devils have brought back forwards Matt Pope, Joey Martin and Joey Haddad, with Craig Moore (who can play of defence or forward) back as well as Mark Richardson.
Featured image: CardiffDevils.com