SWINDON Wildcats head coach Ryan Aldridge believes that hot prospect Ollie Betteridge has a big future in the game after the forward agreed to return for next season.
The 18-year-old will once again be on a two-way deal with Elite League side Nottingham Panthers and the Link Centre chief believes that the youngster will benefit from another season in the EPL.
“He is a big prospect,” Aldridge said. “He has played for both Great Britain under 18s and 20s in the last year and teams probably under estimated him.
“He brings so much energy to our game and he is the catalyst for us to playing quicker hockey.
“The line of Jan (Kostal), Ollie and Henri (Sandvik) was a great line and I am hoping to keep them together next season.”
Aldridge is in no doubt that the talented right wing, who scored twice in 49 appearances with 10 assists last term, will one day go to make a name for himself at the top level and he is pleased that Wildcats can help with his development.
“Ollie has got a bright future, obviously he will move up to the Elite League, that is his goal, but he will benefit from at least one more year in the Premier League and I’m glad that it is with us,” the head coach added.
“To be honest I’m absolutely delighted that we have got him again for another season.”
Betteridge, who was named Cats most improved player of 2013-14 season, is the fifth player to commit his immediate future to Cats following Kostal, Alex Symonds, Stevie Lyle and Aaron Nell.
And Aldridge is hopeful that flying Finn Sandvik, who claimed Supporters’ Player of the Year, the Coaches’ Player of the Year and the best forward at the end of season awards in April, will be returning to the Link Centre.
“They (the talks with Sandvik) are going pretty well and I’m hopeful that we will see him in a Wildcats jersey again,” Aldridge said.
“I’m pleased with how the team is shaping up and hopefully we will be able to announce some more players in the coming weeks.”
However, Cats head coach admits that next season’s squad will have different feel to it as he expects players to depart the Link Centre.
“That always happens, players move on,” Aldridge said. “I’m sure that some of the players from last season won’t be coming back.”