Building the Herd – Tony Redmond

#20 Tony Redmond

Position: Utility

Born: Glasgow, Scotland

Announced as signed: Meet the coach night, 2nd May

 

The “Meet the coach” night on Wednesday 2nd May saw new Bison coach Doug Sheppard announce to the 9 other EPL teams that Basingstoke are here to play. We’ll go through the signings one by one but we’ll start with the obvious one and he was announced first. Sheppard’s first order of business was to announce that utility player and Bison legend Tony Redmond was back for his 14th season with the Herd and this time as captain.

The Glasgow born Redmond needs no real lengthy introduction to British hockey fans let alone Bison fans as he enters his 24th senior campaign. Having started with his hometown team Glasgow Eagles and a spell with Ayr Bruins, in 1992 he joined his older brother Kenny (now coach of the Irish national team) at the Beavers and Tony’s been in the area ever since. Now into his 4th spell with the Bison, Tony’s had stops at Slough, Guildford and Slough again and has played in pretty much every league setup going in the country. As he goes into his 7th season in the EPL, Redmond currently stands at 206 points from 270 appearances (0.76 points per game) with 316 penalty minutes. Also, unless you’ve been living in a hole, you’ll know he’s the Bison’s all time record British points scorer and appearance holder.

There are a few players who no matter where they go will always be associated with one club, especially in British hockey where people move about so much; Dwayne Newman will always be associated with Peterborough, Nick Poole will always be associated with Milton Keynes and Tony Redmond, no matter where he plays, is a Basingstoke Bison. That’s just how it is. The good thing about the whole situation is the club isn’t hanging on to Redmond out of sentimentality; they’re hanging on to him because he can still do the business.

At 38, no he’s not the youngest guy in the world and he won’t be beating Tyler Seguin in any speed races any time soon but his longevity combined with his versatility makes him a valuable commodity. Any player able to competently play forward or defence is an asset at any level and Redmond’s got the ability to do it in spades. Depending on who Sheppard can sign will dictate where Redmond ends up but we shouldn’t have to worry. Whilst players like Liam Chong and Nicky Chinn covered on defence when injuries struck, it wasn’t an easy task for them as Chinn readily admitted most weeks on his Twitter account. Redmond is able to slot into either position with ease and his positioning whilst doing it is of a good standard. I personally prefer Redmond as a forward because then we might get to see him stalking Tony Hand again but I’m not fussed either way. It’s just good having him out there.

Also as a choice for captain it’s a virtual no brainer. With the dropping of his assistant coach role (you can’t be listed as a coach and a C/A on the gamesheet) it means one of the genuine leaders on the team can lead the team. When Chinn was announced as not returning, Redmond’s name instantly came to the fore but I did wonder to myself, “does he need the captaincy to be a leader on this team?” His veteran status commands a lot of respect as it is so you could argue that he didn’t necessarily need to be given the C as he’s a leader be default.

On the other hand it shows that Sheppard (3 years younger than Redmond) is setting out his stall for the team early as to who the on ice leader is for what is going to be a new look Bison side. It’s a team that is going to have to gel and a strong personality like Tony’s will hopefully lead it through the transition. Also those of us that attended the event or read his Twitter saw and read how much it means to him to be captain. Aside from the fact few of us could think of a better person to do the job, if anyone’s earned the chance to have the job of captain of the Basingstoke Bison then Redmond should be numbers 1-5 on your list of 5.

The next few days are going to see a few more pieces as we run down the latest additions to the Herd. I’ll also be moving house so be prepared for pieces at different times and in slightly different formats but we’ll get there.

Until then all that’s left to say is welcome back Tony, #20legend.

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