The Kitmart Dundee Stars are delighted to announce the double-signing of netminder. Brython Preece and forward, Toms Rutkis for the 2021-2022 Elite League season.

The Stars have secured the pair of 23-year-olds signatures for the upcoming campaign and whilst both young Brits have represented the Cardiff Devils and Coventry Blaze organisations, this will be the first time they become teammates.

Brython made the move to Dundee in 2019 and joined the team as the back-up goaltender, making two appearances for the club during the 2019-2020 season.

The Welsh-born shot-stopper made a lasting impression during his first year in Scotland and has earned himself a new contract for this season.

Preece has previously iced in the EIHL with the Coventry in the 2017-2018 campaign and stands at a massive, six-foot-five-inches, as well as catching the puck with his right hand.

The former Cardiff Devils youth has also played across in Canada and the United States.

 

Picture Credit: Derek Black.

 

Meanwhile, Toms, who was born in Riga, Latvia, has played all of his hockey in the UK and has also represented Team GB on 14 occasions at U18 and U20 level.

Rutkis came through the English youth leagues with teams such as Guildford Phoenix and the Okanagan Hockey Academy but his main development club has been Swindon Wildcats.

The forward who can play both on the right wing and at center, has been icing for Swindon in seven of the last eight seasons, whilst also playing on a two-way contract with the Cardiff Devils between 2017 and 2020.

Along with 96 games of Elite League experience and a further 12 games in the Champions Hockey League, Rutkis played in 14 games of the Elite Series with Coventry, this past April.

 

Picture Credit: James Assinder.

 

After signing his first goaltender for the new season, Stars GM and Head Coach, Omar Pacha excitedly said: “Preecer has done everything we have asked of him in the past and in the games he has played really, really well.

“I think he is improving and he has progressed a lot in his first year with us.

“It is important to get a good back-up goaltender who can log minutes and maybe give a rest to our starter and Preecer is the perfect guy for us.”

Pacha continued: “He is still a young goalie, but he has to keep improving every single year.

“Hopefully he will be able to get some playing time again this year depending on how our starter does and the situations we are in.

“I feel confident putting him in the net if something happens and I know he his hungry and he wants to keep improving.”

 

Speaking after penning his new deal, an ecstatic Brython added: “Returning to Dundee had been what I intended to do after last season.

“Obviously there were some barriers that did not allow it to happen straight away, but it is a good feeling now that I am back.

“It is a great city, it is a team that I have settled into, and a club that is growing every season on and off the ice.

“It is somewhere I am very happy to play and be a part of the growing hockey culture here.”

The Welsh goalkeeper then discussed how happy he was with his previous year in Dundee, the difficulty of a year out and his ambitions for this season.

Preece said: “I feel like there was a lot of growth in my game physically and mentally last season.

“Being a younger goalie, you look to build your game constantly and a second season in Dundee gives me those opportunities.

“My focus over the last year has always been to get back on the ice, back into the gym and getting ready for this season.

“Once reality set in about the season not starting last year, it was nice to have the opportunity to spend more time with my family, but it also pushed me to make decisions regarding life outside of hockey, like going to university to study Physics.”

“However, I am looking forward to getting back on the ice and being with the boys again, but ultimately the team is brought in to win.

“We had generated some good momentum before the last season came to a halt, so I am looking forward to building on that and developing my game further, and with how the team is shaping up I feel like we can do something special this season.”

 

Picture Credit: Derek Black.

 

The Stars boss then discussed the reasons behind why he recruited Rutkis and a thrilled Pacha said: “Well I wanted to continue adding depth to our line-up and that has been one of the most important things for me this summer.

“There is going to be a lot of games this season, so it is crucial to get those guys who have EIHL experience and that have played at this level before, so that is why I wanted to add Toms to our line-up.

“In Cardiff, he improved a lot over the years and for me it is important to use our bench and he is a guy who has that experience, who can come in and do a job for us.

“He has speed, he has great size, he is a character guy and I think he can be a huge asset for us this season.”

 

Once his first move to Scotland was confirmed, a delighted Rutkis added: “I have heard great things about the club and out of all the options I had, it made the most sense and I am very happy and excited to be playing for Dundee.

“I think it is a great opportunity for me as a player to develop and I think it will be a fun experience.”

The British-Latvian then shared more about why he decided now was the time to move away from Swindon and Cardiff.

“I had three great years playing for Cardiff and Swindon, I learned a lot as a player and made lots of memories”, explained Toms.

“When the opportunity presented itself, I was ready to try something new and hopefully get to show more of what I can do as a player and gain more experience playing at this level.”

Rutkis will also be reunited with his former GB U20 and Cardiff Devils teammate, Craig Moore and the six-foot tall forward, also revealed how Pacha sold him on the move.

He said: “When I signed, I was not aware that Craig Moore will be back in Dundee but it is great to have someone on the team that I am familiar with and have played with before.

“Everyone that I spoke to about this opportunity agreed that it will be good for me and that I should go for it.”

 

Picture Credit: Rebecca Brain.

 

He continued: “I spoke to Omar about the city and the club, how things operate and it all seemed like a great fit.

“I am looking forward to working together with him to continue getting better as a player and helping the team.

“The idea of living in Scotland is also exciting, I have not seen too much of the country but will definitely try to explore it in my free time.”

Finally, Rutkis shared his experience of playing in the Elite League’s Elite Series with Coventry Blaze and how crucial it has been for him after a long shutdown.

Toms said: “It was a really fun experience to have been a part of and I think it was important to get to play some games at this level, getting used to the speed again and not spending a whole season without any Elite League hockey.”

Brython and Toms are our 11th and 12th signings of the summer and they join Drydn Dow, Craig Garrigan, Kris Inglis, Alexandre Ranger, Connor Sills, Craig Moore, Kyle Haas, Brett Orr, Dillon Lawrence and Gabriel Desjardins on the roster for next season.

You can get your season tickets to watch these 12 players and the rest of the team in the 2021-2022 campaign by contacting: [email protected]

Preece will wear #44 for Dundee this year and Rutkis will wear #37.

To view Brython’s career stats on Elite Prospects click HERE and to see Toms’ click HERE.

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Dundee Stars Team
48 Games
18 Wins
27 Losses
3 OT Losses
39 Points