Goodnight and Good Luck – Chris Wiggins

We’ve already touched on one of the announced releases from the Bison yesterday in captain Nicky Chinn. The other player mentioned in the release was power forward, enforcer and crowd favourite Chris “Wiggy” Wiggins.

 

What have we lost?

In Wiggins the Bison lose their most physical player since the team entered the EPL. Originally signed from the Bracknell Hornets and reportedly on the verge of hanging up the skates when Moria convinced him to give the Bison a go for the season. Despite being characterised as a goon, a waste or a pantomine villain Wiggins actually proved himself to be a very versatile player. Able to grind and bang on the checking line, he also showed that he could play very well in a 2nd line power forward role. The inconsistent officiating that blights the EPL often saw Wiggins taking a seat for seemingly legal hits but he was arguably one of the biggest hitters in the league as well as one of the toughest. Always prepared to stand up for his team mates (see the first home game vs Telford this season just gone along with the resulting headache that Tom Watkins had for evidence of that) Wiggins complimented that by having superb hands for a big man. Whilst he did it more in his 2nd season, the patented Wiggins drive to the net with one hand on his stick whilst holding the puck away from the defenceman yielded some very good goals in their time.

It was his style of play that made Wiggy so popular with the Bison faithful. Like hockey fans in most places but especially Basingstoke, Bison fans love their players with a bit of skill but who are rough around the edges. Whilst not as high a scorer as Brad Cruikshank, Wiggins fits the mould as the nose to the grindstone player that fans of the Herd generally like.

 

Where has he gone?

Wiggy was announced on Friday as the first new signing of the Milton Keynes Lightning by coach Nick Poole

http://www.mk-lightning.com/Latest/Wiggins-to-give-Lightning-more-edge-on-the-ice.html

In the mould of many MK press releases, it’s well written and honest. It’s also not a large surprise that Wiggins was a target for other teams after his breakout first season with the Bison in the summer of 2010. The Lightning always play with a physical undercurrent to their game. Wiggins will make that undercurrent a touch more obvious.

 

Who replaces him?

At the moment, still nobody. We await Wednesday to see if we have a direct replacement for Wiggins in terms of 3rd line minutes or physicality.

 

Final thoughts

Every so often the door to the penalty box would open and in went Wiggins. It was almost an inevitable fact of life watching the Bison in the EPL. Sometimes it was a ridiculous call, sometimes it was entirely justified. Sometimes the red mist had come upon him and he’d just beaten the living snot out of someone and we were all on our feet cheering wildly while the away fans booed and jeered at this despicable goon skating for a sit down. That was our Wiggy.

To tell the truth I’m a little shocked that an EIHL side hasn’t taken a chance on Chris but him signing for MK or a team of similar quality in the EPL. Wiggins has proven time and time again that he belongs and is to be taken seriously. His style of play will always have its detractors, those who prefer “skill” over physicality in hockey but truth no team of Curtis Huppes or Nathan Rempels alone will win titles, you need a Chris Wiggins

I don’t doubt that there will be a few comedy boos when Wiggins returns to the Arena with Milton Keynes next season, maybe even a few genuine boos because they’re cross he left. However I think the majority will applaud him back and remember him fondly…until the puck drops at any rate.

All the best Wiggy, keep your head up.

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