Building the Herd – Liam Chong

#?? Liam Chong

Position: Forward

Born: Chelmsford, Essex

Announced as signed: Bison website, Wednesday 27th April

So much for it going quiet in Bison land as Coach Moria announced the 7th player signed up for EPL duty in 2011/12 would be a new face, that of GB U20 international Liam Chong.

Chong, who joins from Invicta Dynamos of ENL 1 South, appeared in 37 games for the Kent side this season scoring 24 goals and 30 assists for 54 points making him the Dynamos’ 4th highest scorer of the campaign. In that time he only tallied 8 minutes in penalties. In his 2 EPL appearances with the Bison, he scored 1 goal in a 7-3 win over Bracknell on New Years Day 2011.

Before a breakout year in the ENL, Chong spent time in both the Chelmsford and Romford junior systems before spending the 2009/10 season in Lake Placid, NY, USA at the highly regarded Northwood School where he was part of the Midget level team under Coach Mike McCabe. During this past season Chong, along with Ciaran Long and Ben Davies, was part of the GB U20 side that won a bronze medal at the Division 1A World U20 Championships. Chong played all 5 games, scoring 1 goal.

So folks, the first new face of the summer and if I’m honest, I’m not massively shocked by it. If we look at the people who guested for the team over the last season, there were 2 that really stood out for their contribution; Chong and Wightlink’s Robbie Brown (who must have at least been spoken to by Coach Moria). Both were top of my list of people to step up from the ENL; players who can score or do grinding work as required when they made their fleeting appearances.

Now I can hear the criticisms from some already; ENL 1 South is a glorified rec league and the EPL is a different kettle of fish. Yes and no is my response to that. OK at the bottom, the ENL can lack quality but the top end of the ENL with teams like Wightlink, Chelmsford, Invicta, Romford and Bracknell play good, hard, attractive hockey and Chong at age 19 has been over a point a game! That has to count for something and is more than worth taking a chance on.

Bison fans were impressed with Chong in his 2 games. To be fair, scoring against Bracknell will do that round our way. Aside from that, Chong is a no nonsense, low maintenance player who can play on the 2nd line as an out-and-out scorer or on the 3rd line to make sure the other team doesn’t score.

Now if I am honest, I think Chong comes in as 9th or 10th forward. We’ve seen how Moria puts his teams together and with Liam playing EPL for the 1st time next season, unless Moria thinks that Chong is really super hyper mega amazing, he’ll likely start out on the 3rd line and depending on how he plays, we’ll see his ice time change from there.

Now raises the big issue; we’ve had a new face come in so who is he replacing? Now considering what we’re expecting it likely points towards 2 players who played really, really well at the tail end of the season in Callum Best and Ciaran Long. Now both players are really popular and I would happily have both back but unless we’re having a dramatic shake up in the roster or Moria is drastically changing the way he puts the team together, I think we have to face that we’re likely to lose one of them. Remember though, it’s rumour until the club says they’ve signed.

Either way, we have a new name to cheer for. Welcome to EPL hockey and more importantly, welcome to the Herd Liam. We’re glad you came.

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