Invicta Dynamos Player-Coach Anthony Leone has filled the netminder posts for the 2019/20 campaign by confirming the signings of goalie trio John Dibble, Zach Grandy-Smith and Owen Rider.
John Dibble will wear number 35 for the team, Zach Grandy-Smith 33 and Owen Rider 30.
31 year old shot stopper John Dibble will be a familiar face in Gillingham having already iced for the club in 2016/17 and 2017/18. Up until his switch to the Mos in 2016, the netminder had spent his senior career exclusively with his hometown club the Bristol Pitbulls, occupying the number one spot for the southwest side for eight consecutive seasons. Dibble was a key player for the Pitbulls as they claimed the ENIHL South Division 2 title in 2009/10 and he helped bring further success in 2014/15 as they became NIHL South Division 2 playoff and southwest champions.
In 2016/17 the Invicta Dynamos suffered a netminder crisis as injury befell both of the club’s shot stoppers and John Dibble initially joined on loan from Bristol before later signing full time. Over the season he played 1,162 minutes between the posts and saved a remarkable 91.35% of 775 shots on his net. His performances helped the side to a second place finish in the NIHL South Division 1 and set the groundwork for the famous NIHL Playoff win that followed. In 2017/18 Dibble returned to the club to share goalie duties – playing 578 minutes and saving 89.11% of efforts on his net.
Last term Dibble moved back to the Bristol Pitbulls before switching to the Oxford City Stars in the NIHL South Division 2. Once again he proved tough to beat building a remarkable stop rate of 94.10%. Now though he is back in Kent and the NIHL South’s top tier where he will take the number one spot for the Mos in 2019/20.
Speaking on his return to the Invicta Dynamos, starter John Dibble said, “I spoke to Coach Anthony Leone over the summer and I liked the direction he was taking the club in so I’m excited to now be a part of that. Obviously I’ve played for Invicta before and I really enjoyed my time here so that made the decision to come back far easier. The fans help make this a great place to play. This year I want to keep improving and give the team the best chance to win week in, week out. The coach has put together a strong squad and I think we should be pushing towards the top of the table and competing for silverware this season.”
Talking on his new number one, Anthony Leone said, “John is a proven goalie at this level of the game and will provide us with great experience at the back. He was a fans’ favourite when he was here before and I’m sure they will be pleased to see him return. John is a very consistent performer and that gives the players in front of him the confidence to play the game. You can’t ask for much more from your starter. I’m very happy he’s back in a Dynamos jersey and I look forward to working with him.”
20 year old Zach Grandy-Smith is a product of the youth setup in Chelmsford and rose through the junior ranks in Essex before making the bench for the Chieftains in the NIHL South Division 1 come 2015/16. He was also selected for South East Conference hockey at both under 15 and under 17 levels.
Grandy-Smith’s senior debut followed in 2017/18 as he switched to rivals London Raiders and deputised in the NIHL South’s top tier, NIHL National Cup and NIHL Playoffs. The netminder pulled on the jersey 45 times and iced for 297 minutes stopping 89.95% of efforts on his net. Last term he remained with the Raiders organisation and featured for the Division 2 outfit. Now the young shot stopper is looking to continue his development as he moves further south to dress for the Invicta Dynamos in 2019/20.
After completing his switch to the Mos, Zach Grandy-Smith said, “I’ve always really liked the way the fans get behind the boys here at the Invicta Dynamos so when the chance came to sign for the club, I was very happy to take it. The supporters create a great atmosphere, push the team forward and I can’t wait to be a part of that. I’m eager to get started and contribute to the Mos putting some wins on the board. I’m ready to work hard, gain the respect of the fans and coaching staff and work my way up through the club.”
Having secured the signature of Zach Grandy-Smith, Player-Coach Anthony Leone said, “Zach is a young but talented goalie who has some senior experience but now needs continued exposure and the opportunity to play. He arrives at the Dynamos with many positive reviews from a number of top goalie coaches in the UK. Zach has both the raw talent and the right attitude to become a solid starter at this level. He’s good enough to play and we expect to see him progress over the course of the season and challenge for more game time”.
At 16 years old, Owen Rider is the youngest of the Invicta Dynamos netminding trio and in 2019/20 he will continue his development with the under 18s whilst also training for the Mos and stepping up should he be required on game day.
Rider is a homegrown goalie with huge potential who, at age 15, had already made the step up to feature for the Invicta Broncos under 18s. Last term he made 18 appearances for the Broncos, finishing up with a save percentage of 85.70% in addition to training with the senior side on a weekly basis. Now he will continue working his way up the Dynamos ladder by maintaining his junior development but also providing a third goalie option for Player-Coach Anthony Leone should it be required.
Young gun Owen Rider was pleased to have put pen to paper for the Dynamos and said, “When I started playing hockey as a junior I always wanted to play for the best team at my club so I’m delighted to now have a roster spot with the Mos. I know my role this year is to be there for the team, assist when needed and be ready when I’m required. I’m going to bring youth, enthusiasm and drive and use this season to improve my game and learn from the more experienced players around me”.
Owen Rider’s new Player-Coach Anthony Leone said, “Owen is a local homegrown talent so it’s great to be able to give him this opportunity. He will play for the under 18s to get game time but will train with us on a weekly basis to develop. Owen we be a part of our dressing room and we see him as a future Dynamos goalie. This arrangement has his best interests at heart and will benefit his development. Owen is a bright prospect with a great attitude and he has an exciting future ahead of him.”
Warm-up Jersey – For just £125 get your name or logo printed on the back of John Dibble’s, Zach Grandy-Smith’s or Owen Rider’s warm-up jersey. Sponsors are also named on our website and in our match day programme and then presented with the jersey to keep at the end of the season.
Game jerseys – For just £175 get your name or logo printed on the back of John Dibble’s, Zach Grandy-Smith’s or Owen Rider’s home or away game jerseys (including all replicas). Want both? For just £300 get your name or logo on the back of each of Elliot Farrell’s game jerseys. Sponsors are also named on our website and in our match day programme, are announced over the loudspeaker during player introductions at every home game, receive a programme advert (business sponsors only), get their logo placed on our official website (business sponsors only) and are presented with their jersey (one shirt) at the end of the season.
Contact Sarah Parrish by email at Sarah@invictadynamos.co.uk for player sponsorship details or enquiries.