Building the Herd – Dan Harris

#?? Dan Harris

Position: Defence

Born: Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

Announced as signed: Bison “Meet and Greet” event 25th May

 

With all the netminders taken care of we move on to the one defensive signing from the meet and greet when Steve Moria announced that 22 year old Dan Harris was joining the Bison from Whitley Warriors of ENL North 1.

 

Harris, a product of the famous Whitley junior system played for the Whitley Braves U19 side before playing the last 3 full seasons with the Warriors. In the last 2 seasons as part of the Warriors, Harris has won the ENL 1 North title twice including a fantastic 2010-11 season where Whitley didn’t lose a regular season game and only lost 2 games all season. Harris played in 26 ENL games scoring 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points picking up 54 PIMs along the way.

 

Harris also appeared in 4 Elite League games for Newcastle Vipers, tallying 1 assist and 4 penalty minutes in those outings for the now sadly defunct club where he spent the majority of his minutes playing alongside former Bison defenceman Sam Zajac.

 

Somebody asked me if I was a bit underwhelmed with some of the signings from the meet and greet. My honest answer was no, mainly because I’d not seen a couple of them play more than a handful of times or, in Harris’ case, not seen at all. Now the old saying says “anyone can look good on paper but ice hockey isn’t played on paper”. True but at least if they look good on paper there’s some promise.

 

During last season Harris was mainly used as a top line stay at home defenceman on a team that didn’t lose a game until they got to the ENL North playoffs in March. They obviously had some close scrapes along the way (or 4 draws as they call them in Whitley) in what is a league that is arguably more competitive than ENL 1 South. The Warriors fought out a 0-0 game at the Skydome against the Blaze’s ENL side in what a hockey playing friend of mine called “the most entertaining game I’ve seen in a while”.

Whilst Warriors goalie James Flavell had a lot to say in it, you have to credit the defence as well with the fact that in their 28 league games they conceded 52 goals. That’s 1.86 goals a game taking into account 5 shutouts the team posted.

 

The call up to the Vipers is also interesting. Many will take it with a pinch of salt and say that Newcastle just needed the bodies and it’s true they did. That said from what I understand Harris played 4 games and played around 25-30 minutes of ice time which you’re not going to ask someone to do if you think they couldn’t or aren’t good enough to do. Newcastle likely didn’t

 

The only niggle is the step up in the amount more games he’ll be playing. 37 games in 09/10 and around 30 this season including the playoffs and EIHL stint means that he’s yet to play a schedule with as many games as the EPL but I don’t see that being a concern for a 22 year old.

 

I won’t lie, I’m quite intrigued to see Harris in action for us. With Redmond currently playing defence next season we have our 5 defenders now signed so I’m not sure where Harris fits in. I’d assume he’ll be number 4 or 5 on the rotation depending on how he plays. If forwards end up out of the game then Redmond moves up front leaving 2 pairs on defence which gives Moria some flexibility. Harris seems to be ready for this step up judging by the last couple of seasons and likely was told by Zajac that this is a decent place for him to get that chance.

 

Works for me, welcome on board Dan.

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