Building the Herd – Chris Wiggins

#28 Chris Wiggins

Position: Forward

Born: Guildford, England

Announced as signed: Bison website, Saturday 23rd April

WIGGY WIGGY WIGGY! OI OI OI! Good news for all concerned as power forward, ‘The Baby Faced Bulldozer’ Chris Wiggins was announced by Steve Moria as returning for his 3rd season as part of the Bison.

Former Guildford junior Wiggins equalled his career best year in terms of points with 9 goals and 9 assists for 18 points in 46 games including his first ever senior hat trick in the 6-5 win over Telford Tigers on 9th October 2010. Wiggins had a career year in penalty minutes as he clocked up 198 PIMs making him 2nd in the EPL behind Andre Payette (who else) and the top of the British PIMs taker in the league. The 23 year old averaged 4.3 PIMs a game.

Bison’s Chris Wiggins continued his pantomime villain role late in the period, with a blindside hit that saw him spend two minutes in the bin for charging and later he would receive a two plus ten minute penalty for roughing and misconduct after he attempted to belittle the ‘code’ and get Kristoffersson to drop his gloves.”

http://www.manchesterphoenix.co.uk/news/s/1787_phoenix_trampled_by_bison

That quote above came from a Phoenix match report in November of last year. Bison had won both games of a home and home series including a 3-2 OT win in Manchester. Go back and read that quote again, particularly the first line and the last line and a bit. That line sums up that sadly, people see what they want to see when it comes to Chris Wiggins. Now I can forgive the Manchester website writer a bit of creative license when it comes to match reports on their website but the point about Wiggy still stands. He gets labelled as a bruiser who throws big hits (he is), as someone who takes daft penalties (he occasionally does) and a pantomime villain or a goon which he definitely is not.

Now I don’t deny that Wiggy isn’t to everyone’s tastes. Milton Keynes fans after the playoff ¼ finals lambasted him as a knuckle dragger for taking 26 minutes of penalties in 2 games; a fantastic irony considering they have Grant McPhearson but it is a weakness in the big man’s game. Yes be physical but sometimes he can be too physical and that results in taking penalties at the wrong moments. Checking to the head calls are obviously problematic for someone his size as everyone’s head is at his elbow or chest height but it’s the random misconducts and hooks and roughing calls. At least once a game I expect Chris to take a penalty and I think we all just kind of accept it.

The problem is that people then seem to forget all the rest of his game. For a big man he has good skating and fantastic hands. His ability on the puck and his shooting are amazing which when coupled together with his size are a deadly combination when used. If you need a refresher of his shooting ability, hop on You Tube and find the video of the Bison’s 12-0 win over Bracknell from 2009. Goal 12 right at the end is worthy of Kubenko or Lauko or the above mentioned Kristofferson (who whilst a fantastic player seemed to think he was immune to the physical side of hockey when he has a habit of leading into hits an elbow) or go back and watch the highlights of Wiggy’s hat trick.

The main message? The boy can play, he can really play and to write him off as some sort of talentless knuckle dragger shows you either don’t watch closely enough or you pick and choose what you want to see.

Welcome back Chris; hit the music, it’s time for Graham Bell to dance!

Hiawatha didn’t bother too much…”

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