Ben O'Connor Joins Flames
The Flames have added one of the most decorated British players in EIHL and GB team history with the addition of Defenceman Ben O’Connor. The Durham native has played 554 EIHL games since breaking into the league from the 2007-2008 term with Basingstoke Bison and Edinburgh Capitals through his most recent stint last season when he played 16 games with Cardiff Devils before completing the year at Romanian side SC Csíkszereda with whom he collected the Erste Liga and Romanian championship.
“I am excited to be a part of the Flames organisation and to get going come August,” said O’Connor, “after speaking with Paul, the future looks very bright. I Look forward to meeting everyone!
After a full term at Coventry Blaze in 2008-2009 and another at Capitals in 2009-2010, the 6’1”, 200lb Blueliner moved to Kazakhstan side Saryarka Karaganda, where he had 26 points in 51 starts. He moved to Arlan Kokshetau for the next pair of seasons plus part of a 3rd that followed with his best stint in 2013-2014 when 51 games produced 17 goals and 56 points. His stay earned him a pair of Best Defenceman awards in 2011-2012 and 2013-2014, and he led the league in points by a Defenceman during the 12-13 and 13-14 schedules.
Early in the 2014-2015 set, O’Connor returned to EIHL with his first of 6 seasons at Sheffield Steelers. Between that opening campaign and his last in 2019-2020, the 33 year old regularly posted 40+ points per season, with his best term the 2017-2018 set when he cracked 50 with 14 goals and 39 assists. His individual domestic honours include a pair of Best British Defenceman awards, 14-15 and 15-16, EIHL British player of the year, 14-15, and EIHL First All-Star Team in 14-15 and 15-16. His personal trophy stack did leave room for team Silver with Steelers thanks to back to back League titles in 14-15 through 15-16, a playoff crown in 16-17 and the Cup trophy in 19-20.
Internationally, O’Connor helped lead the charge to the top level of World Championship play and was then on hand when GB took part in the past 3 tournaments at the Elite level where he played 21 games and had a goal and 3 assists. Including 4 Olympic games qualifiers, O’Connor has 61 Caps in country colours since his debut with the programme in 2009 and has 15 goals and 24 assists. He also served the national side as an under 18 and 20; 4 games with the former in 2005 and 5 games with the latter in 2008. His time in between was spent in Canada where he iced a pair of Major Junior hockey seasons at OHL Windsor Spitfires and Mississauga Ice Dogs.
“We are pretty excited to get a guy who has such a long standing record of success in this league,” said Paul Dixon.
“If there is something he has not yet achieved in Elite League, I can’t think of what that might be. He has won league, cup and playoff titles and has picked up a variety of individual honours recognizing his unique talents along the way.”
“We want his ability in the line-up of course, but we also want to be able to use his rich experience, domestically and internationally, to enhance our dressing room culture as we look to challenge a little harder against some of the league’s top teams.”
“He is a very highly skilled player and still has a great desire to succeed. We know he will make a big contribution to team success, and we can’t wait to get our first look at him in Flames colours.”
2022 2023 season tickets available here. Individual match tickets on sale in early August.