26-year-old defenceman David Clements will return to the Skydome Arena for a seventh year with the Coventry Blaze, the club announced on 12 June.
In comments released on the organisation’s website, head coach Danny Stewart hailed Clements’ development on and off the ice over recent years, praising the Coventry-born blue-liner’s contributions during the 2021 Elite Series.
“David continues to grow as a player and person and is coming off a big year,” Stewart said.
“[During] our last season, David made massive strides forward on and off the ice. He has worked hard over the past year to stay game ready, and was outstanding for us in the Elite Series.
"Other than his family, I don't think anybody was more excited for him to get the [Team] GB call than the coaching staff. He plays a big part in our room behind the scenes and his game continues to grow on the ice. He will play a key role for us next season."
During the Elite Series, Clements was elevated to the second pair and handed additional shifts on the Blaze’s special team units. After playing a starring role for Coventry, registering eight points (3+5) in 14 Elite Series games, the right-shot defenceman was selected to play for the Great British national team at the IIHF World Championships in Latvia.
A mainstay in the Great Britain line-up throughout the competition, Clements played a key role in the Brits’ historic 4-3 win over Belarus, their first regulation-time victory in the top pool since 1962.
Since making his Elite Ice Hockey League debut for the Blaze in 2015, Clements has amassed 318 appearances and 51 points in the blue and white of Coventry.
A product of Coventry’s academy, Clements ranks 14th in all-time appearances for the Blaze.
Before turning professional, Clements spent three seasons with the Ogden Mustangs of the WSHL where he was made Captain and became the team’s all-time leading points scorer for a defenceman.
'A testament to the Coventry Blaze'
After it was announced that Luke Ferrara would be staying with the Blaze for the 2021/22 season, I wrote something along the lines of ‘this is fantastic – albeit unsurprising – news.’
My thoughts regarding David Clements’ return to Coventry are identical.
Since I began covering the team in 2018, Clements’ development has been remarkable. Back then, the Coventry native was a typical third pair defenceman in the Elite League. Clements didn’t play a prominent role on the powerplay or penalty kill, his ice time was kept to a minimum.
Today, Clements is anything but.
A key player for Team GB at this summer’s Worlds, Clements is a confident, puck-playing defenceman who can thwart attacks with body or stick.
Take the 26-year-old’s coast-to-coast goal during the Elite Series against the Manchester Storm as a key example. Clements skated the length of the ice before firing a low shot beyond Sean Bonar on the blocker side. The perfect goal proceeded by the perfect zone entry.
Following a successful Elite Series, Spring Cup, and World Championship, it is my expectation that Clements will play on Coventry’s second pair and first powerplay unit next term.
Danny Stewart takes great pride in how Coventry’s British core has developed under his leadership. Ferrara is an elite scorer in the EIHL. Ross Venus is back in the national team. Jordan Hedley is pushing for a tandem role between the pipes. Alex Forbes is now firmly in the ‘players you trust to play difficult minutes’-category.
David Clements’ development is a testament to the entire Coventry Blaze organisation (himself included) – his return, like Ferrara’s, is fantastic news.