SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell is excited by the prospect of seeing latest recruit Joseph Hazeldine develop during his time at the Link Centre.

At the tender age of 16, Hazeldine joins the Cats on a two-way deal with Elite League side Nottingham Panthers as he looks for more time on the ice in the National League South division.

And, with the experienced heads of Neil Liddiard and Sam Zajac already in the Cats' D-line, Nell is confident that Swindon can be the right environment for the England U20 international to spread his wings.

“Joseph is very young and he is up and coming. He got recommended to us by Corey Neilson (Nottingham head coach) and he is going to be on a two-way agreement like Jordan (Kelsall),” said the Wildcats chief.

“He is one of the top young players in the country.

“He is very young but he is a good size and he skates really well and moves the puck really well.

“I watched him a couple of times in May at a junior tournament and he was pretty dominant.

“We’re excited to have a young player like him come to us and we’re excited to see what he can do as the season progresses.

“I know he is excited and looking forward to his first year in senior hockey.

“We are happy with our D-core, I think it has improved on last season and brining in Sam Zajac has really helped that.”

Swindon have a reputation of bringing through young defensive talent, with Callum Buglass and Matt Selby examples of that in the last year.

And with Jordan Kelsall heading in the other direction, Nell is pleased to have that link to the Panthers and other sides in the Elite League, which not only benefits his side but also the players themselves.

“We have got that link with Nottingham now,” he added.

“He is going to get a lot of practice time in Nottingham with the Panthers and that will be great for him and then to come down to us and get some important game time is a good situation.

“Looking back a few years, we had James Griffin, who came in at 16 and made a big name for himself and then there was Paul Swindlehurst too, who had a couple of years here and then went off to the Elite League.

“We do like bringing young defencemen in and I think, with the players we’re going to have around him, everything is not going to be expected of him at the start.

“We need to put him in situations he can succeed in and improve and I think he has got a great situation being in Nottingham, to learn from their people to.”