Bison 2010/11 End of Season Yearbook Part 1Posted: 26/03/2011
Well class it’s the end of another season of Bison hockey. The 2010-11 EPL season is behind us and we’re left with a winter of memories and a summer of rumours to come. British hockey is like that. Players come and players go but the optimist in me can look back at this season and remember the fun we’ve had this season.
For our first ever post here we’re going to examine the moments that have shaped this season, good and bad but first, the team itself and the titles they’ve earned this season in our Bison yearbook.
#3 Viktor Kubenko – Mr “Please Stay Giant Slovak Robot Man”
Let me tell you a story; I got married on Saturday 11th September 2010. 3 days before that was the first Bison pre-season game at home against Bracknell. It was a chance for people to buy jerseys for the new season and I saw a few people putting names down. Then we sat down and watched the first period, Kubenko’s first 20 minutes of hockey on British soil. Come the first break there were at least 5 people if not more asking for a #3 jersey.
After a bit of a slow start Kubenko turned into one of if not arguably, the best player in the EPL. The fact he was only named to the 2nd All Star team sadly seemed to confirm the rumour that the majority of IHJUK members don’t bother watching EPL games when they fill out their ballot. His sheer dominance of games at times, his ability to just waltz through defences, his skill on the puck; proof positive that the Slovak machine never breaks.
# 5 Ben Davies – Mr “Fast and Furious”
I have to confess I knew very little about Ben before I read what has to go down as arguably the Cardiff Devils’ worst written press release ever if they were trying to get a man to stay. Davies came into the line up and injected key things we were lacking at the time; a bit of pace, a bit of creativity and a warm body which with the amount of injuries the side had at the time really helped. His speed, determination and skill have been evident but you can also tell he’s developing as a player. Playing on a line with Moria and Kubenko can only have helped.
#7 Kurt Reynolds – Mr “Nimble Fingers/Nimble Feet”
Yes OK, ha ha I made a hairdressing joke. Kurt’s career outside of hockey is well-known but the one thing that never ceases to amaze me about Kurt is his ability to turn on a sixpence. The criticisms levelled at Kurt after the 09/10 season were that he seemed off the pace and to struggle positionally as well as offensively which confused many who had seen him excel on an awful team in the final EIHL season. This season Kurt looked more like the Kurt of old. The confidence was there and he was back to being positionally sound. There, now I’ve been nice do I get a free haircut?
#11 Callum Best – Mr “Bieber”
Yeah, not going to let him live that down. Come the end of 2010 it was hard to know what to say about Callum as he’d not really seen much ice time. Come the start of February 2011 he was seeing a regular shift and was starting to turn heads. Not the most spectacular player but who will forget his fight against the Steeldogs or the sound of Graham Bell shouting down the microphone in Manchester when he put the Bison ahead in the semi final? Part of me does wonder if Callum will go elsewhere to guarantee himself more ice time. Whatever happens, we’ll always have the memories.
#16 Andrew Hemmings – Mr “Does Not Finish”
You have 10 seconds to get all the Flame$ jokes out of your system. Now that’s done the story of the 2010-11 for arguably the hardest working player in 2009-10 was one of frustration. By the time #16 hopped up the M3 and turned into #27 his production was down, he was looking lost on the ice and didn’t seem to be the Hemmings we’d seen the season before. Where was the guy who covered every inch of the ice and dominated on the PK with Jamie Line?
Hemmings was popular with a portion of the Bison fan base and was someone who always had plenty of time for the kids. However if we’re honest, we needed a change, Andy needed the change and his move “back home” to Guildford was the best result for all concerned.
#19 Steve Moria – “Doctor Who”
A unique personality, nobody’s sure of his actual age and he always pops up in the nick of time to save the day, it seemed like a fitting title for Coach Mo.
I’m sure if you asked the man himself he’d say he’s lost a yard of pace but over a point a game you’d never guess it. Still a joy to watch even now and the Quick-Vik-Mo line are a threat to any defence in the EPL and it’s in no small part thanks to Moria having pure hockey brain and hands so he can be in the right place at the right time and put the puck there when he feels like it. The issue of course is what does he do next season; go another year or hang them up? Personally I think it’s simple; if Mo thinks he can find a better player than himself he’ll call it a day and retire to the bench. If he doesn’t, he won’t. I’m leaning towards the later.
#20 Tony Redmond – “Mr Basingstoke”
Like he was getting any other nickname! When it was announced that Redmond was moving to forward I had my mind-set as to what “Tosh” would be doing for the better part of the season; 3rd line grit role whilst providing veteran leadership for the younger members of the team. I was right for the most part but injury, penalties and tactical master strokes saw him prove him worthy of the title of Mr Versatile as well. Saturday 13th November will likely stay in the memories of the Bison faithful for many a day as Redmond gave arguably one of the finest performances in the shirt we’ll see for some time when he forced Tony Hand to take out a restraining order. If and when Tony decides to retire, it’s a simple equation; at the end of his last game take the jersey off his back and nail it to the wall.
That ends part 1 of our Bison yearbook. Join us back here on Wednesday evening for part 2 of our look back at the season.