Building the Herd – Joe Greener

#97 Joe Greener
Position: Forward
Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire
Announced as signed: Meet the coach event, 2nd May

Apologies for that break. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

After Greg Owen had said a few words addressing his return to the Bison, Doug Sheppard took the microphone back to announce another addition to the forward ranks of the Bison with the news that his line mate for the last 2 seasons and former Bison junior Joe Greener would be back in Bison colours for 2012/13.

Greener, like Kurt Reynolds a Basingstoke born member of the roster, first appeared in senior hockey with the Bison when he made 1 singular appearance for the team in the BNL in the 1999/00 season, aged just 13. Greener didn’t return to the senior team until the 2002/03 season as a 15 year old when he iced in 31 BNL games, scoring 5 points.

After that season, Greener made the journey over to the United States as he played Midget level hockey with the Soo Indians in Michigan. The year after in 2004/05 Greener mainly played junior B but did step up to the North American Hockey League, one of the top junior leagues in the US with the Soo Indians NAHL side. Joe finally broke into the NAHL in 2005/06 with the Cleveland Jr. Barons where he scored 10 points in 57 games before spending the next 2 seasons with the Traverse City North Stars where he scored 48 points in 103 games.

After finishing his time in the NAHL, Greener returned to Britain for the 2008/09 season with the Bracknell Bees. Joe’s first season back in Britain was a success as he scored 19 goals and 32 assists for 51 points in 45 games with the Berkshire side. Since the start of 2009/10, Joe has been part of the Slough Jets setup and has been captain for the last 2 seasons and winning 3 trophies; the playoffs twice and the EPL cup as part of the team that beat the Bison in the final. In his time with Slough, Greener has had 3 consecutive 70 point seasons, totalling 218 points in 157 games which is 1.39 points per game in his time at the Hanger. His 55 assists in 2011/12 were also the highest in the EPL. Joe is also a former Great Britain under 18 international.

This one was always going to be interesting for me to write. The timing of how I’ve done these Building the Herd pieces for the blog has been done in the order they were announced on the night and wasn’t me putting off writing the tougher ones till the end. As soon as Greener was announced I knew this one was going to be tough to write. In the Greg Owen piece I mentioned there were some players you love and who you hate. Joe Greener was one of those players for me.

Don’t get me wrong, off the ice I’m sure he was the picture of nice and good manners but I really hated watching Joe play for Slough. He always seemed to pop up and score out of nowhere, he niggled, took shots at people and likely has been booed and jeered as much as any player to play against the Bison in the last 3 years the club have played in the EPL. I remember one game in Basingstoke last season where he grabbed Wiggins from behind, the gloves came off, Wiggins punched him a few times in the face and somehow Joe ended up with no penalty at all while Wiggy got 14 minutes. The entire crowd were incredulous at the time.

The issue is, for all the bile and booing we’ve levelled at Greener whilst he’s played for Slough these last 3 years, 2 facts remain; he’s a 70 point a season scoring British forward and he’s won 3 trophies in 3 seasons. It’s hard to hate those numbers especially the fact when you combine that with the numbers of Sheppard who he’s played on a line with for 2 seasons, that’s over 140 points a season from 2 players.

Whilst I don’t expect Greener to take over the Wiggins’ tough man role verbatim he can do that hard nose job if required whilst adding a ton of British scoring that the Bison didn’t get last season. The Bison’s problem in terms of putting numbers on the board was the side had 2 top British scorers in Miller and Chinn but Bronnimann’s injuries and lack of form meant he couldn’t contribute as much as he could and the third line forwards, for all their ability and effort couldn’t muster more than 45 points between the 4 of them.

If you work under the principle that we’ll go with 3 import forwards which means we have 3 British forwards in the top 2 lines. At the moment we have 1 announced import in Sheppard who scored more points than all our imports last season, Owen who scored over 40 points in a superior league, Miller who was the team’s top scorer last season and Greener who scored more points than any Bison player last season. Make no mistake, whilst fans loved the people who played for us last season and you might have booed him out of the building and the county of Hampshire, Joe Greener is a massive upgrade on some of the players we had last season. He is arguably a British player of import quality.

Ultimately Joe is one of us now (said in the appropriately creepy Children of the Corn way) and it’s going to be interesting to watch him as part of this new look Bison team. We now have 3 British forwards signed of high quality who can score points, kill penalties and in some cases get in the faces and under the skins of the opposition. This bodes well my friends, this bodes very well indeed.

Welcome back to Basingstoke, Joe. I don’t think you’ll get many boos in the Stoke this season.

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