Building the Herd – Jacob Corson-HeronPosted: 09/06/2012
#91 Jacob Corson-Heron
Born: Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire
Announced as signed: Bison season ticket night, 6th June
Having dealt with the younger two members of the teenage trio this week, we get to the “elder statesmen” of the three. First to be announced on the night, Doug Sheppard announced the return to the Bison of the popular British forward now known as Jacob Corson-Heron.
The 19 year old joined the Bison for 2011/12 having spent his entire junior career with his home town Milton Keynes. He made his EPL début at the tender age of 14 where he tallied an assist in his lone game of 2006/07 whilst playing for the MK Storm under 19 side. JC-H played for the under 18s, MK Thunder of the ENL and dressed for the Lightning over a 5 year period where he made 187 appearances for the 3 MK sides, tallying 133 points combined in junior and senior hockey.
Heron signed for the Bison last summer as 10th forward but, as was typical with Steve Moria’s coaching, he saw time in a variety of situations on a variety of different lines. Heron formed a formidable and popular partnership with Liam Chong which saw the two earn a reputation for their speed and tenacity as well as the occasional pretty goal. Heron had a career year in the EPL with 9 goals and 3 assists for 12 points including the game winning goal as the Bison beat Swindon 5-4 back in February and the Bison’s goal in the first leg playoff quarter final loss to Sheffield.
“I felt like I wasn’t going to get my chance in Milton Keynes still. I was going to be 10th forward in Milton Keynes. I’ll be 10th forward here but I know players like Callum Best and Wiggy came here as a 10th forward. Besty proved himself and got loads of ice time but it took him quite a while to get into the side. Wiggy’s done it and I’ve been lucky to get in and start from the beginning. I’m just really liking playing a lot of hockey at the moment.” Jacob Corson-Heron, Banners On The Wall interview 11/10/2011
About a month and a half into last season and after a very painful 7-6 loss at home to Slough, I spoke to Jacob who offered the above; disappointed after the loss but eyes very much on the opportunity he had been given.
With a lot of change coming this off season, Heron provides a bit of consistency for what went right last season. Our third line was arguably one of our upsides and whilst some feel that we’d taken too many chances on younger Brits who weren’t proven at EPL level, I personally think that Heron (along with Chong) were successes in their first season here. They chipped in with points, they covered the ice well, they made hits, they played well on the PK. You can’t ask for more out of your third line on the whole.
Heron himself is an interesting player; went all the way through the MK system then moved to Basingstoke to get his chance under a coach that had a record of giving young players chances which is what he got. Heron got time across all three lines, at times even playing with Moria who is old enough to be his dad. He’s got a flexibility to his game that allows him to play wing or centre as well as take faceoffs which is always handy if injuries take their toll on the side or the lines just need mixing up. With Wynn now on board as 10th forward, Heron is a top 9 forward for the first time in his EPL career and really just reward for a productive season from a personal perspective even if the team as a whole didn’t shine.
At 19, nearly 20 he’s still developing as a player. Being 5’8” (coincidentally the same height as me) he’ll never likely land many checking to the head penalties but he’s adapted to using his size well and has a very good eye for goal along with a very good wrist shot. 15 goals was his target he set for himself last season and he’s set that again this year which would be a very good total off the third line. Then again if it all clicks into place, Heron’s shooting ability could set him up for a breakout season where he breaks the 20 point barrier.
It does depend a bit on the make up of the last third line forward. We already have Tony Redmond who is a likely centre for the line and Wynn as 10th forward so we have to see who is the other Brit forward to sign. If Liam Chong returns then it’s a more simple equation of Redmond distributing the puck to Chong and Heron who will speed all over the ice and dig the puck out of the corners which is great. A third line with a bit of grit and speed should be more than capable of chipping in points whilst not conceding. The only argument one could make against that line is lack of size. With rumours that Chong is bound for Manchester and what British forwards we currently have on the roster and are left unsigned we could have a line where Heron is either 8th forward or rotating with Wynn.
If we sign another “top level” EPL Brit then we could conceivably have an import on every line, maybe with Joe Rand on one wing with Redmond in the centre and Heron/Wynn on the other. It could go the other way and the Bison sign someone with potential but still needing a bit of Wynn like development like Andrew Melachrino (a player who has been widely rumoured to be coming) Heron’s then 8th forward getting a regular shift and barely rotating out, if at all. There are a lot of unknown factors still out there in the make up of this Bison side.
What we do know is that Heron will go out every night, cover every inch of the ice and bust his behind for the team whatever role he’s given. We have a player for the third line who has the potential to excel in his position in the team but has the potential and time to develop into something more. If he continues with the play and effort he did last year, it bodes well in the new Bison order under Doug Sheppard for the young man.
Welcome back Jacob; change the number, make your surname longer, paint you hair blue if it helps. Play like you did last season, push on from the decent start you made here last year and you’ll be fine.