Goodnight and Good Luck – Daniel Volrab

Not that it’s a massive surprise given the overhaul Doug Sheppard has given to the Bison team but we were greeted with the news yesterday evening that Daniel Volrab would not be returning to the Bison for the upcoming campaign.

 

What have we lost?

Volrab was the archetypical centre; he had good speed, good hands, decent wheels and distributed the puck very well indeed. His partnership with Joe Miller was far and away the Bison’s best attacking threat throughout last season and when Oli Bronnimann was on fire, that line looked like they had the calibre to score on every shift. Volrab’s eye for the game was good and he could read the game very well. Also as an import forward who could speak decent English with a number of years experience with good teams, he seemed a sensible choice to make an alternate captain; not just because he’s a level head but also to communicate with his team mates whose English wasn’t up to par.

 

Where has he gone?

Daniel has returned to HC Hradec Kralove in the Czech 2nd tier, the club where he spent the majority of 7 years before coming to Basingstoke last season. There appears to have been no press release from the Czech team but he’s appeared on the roster page with a photo so that’ll have to do.

 

Who replaces him?

There is no direct import replacement for Daniel but in positional terms the replacement at top line centre is Greg Owen who Coach Sheppard told us is the likely line mate for Joe Miller when the season starts. Don’t you just love easy answers?

 

Final thoughts:

I always find it odd writing GNGL pieces like this; we’ve all known deep down for a while that due to the changes at the club the odds of Daniel returning to the Bison were somewhere in the region usually reserved for 3 legged horses in the Grand National so I’ve long reconciled myself to this happening a while ago. As a move it makes sense.

Volrab is a Steve Moria type player, not a Doug Sheppard type player. In fact someone I spoke to during the season (and I forget who it was so I apologise for that) hit the nail on the head; that was almost part of the problem with the team as a whole. He was too much of a Moria type player and the played so similarly that it skewed the balance of the team a little. That doesn’t mean that Volrab is a bad player, far from it. When 2 players combine for over 120 points, that’s a good partnership and you wouldn’t have said no to them both coming back but you need a team of all the talents and possibly Moria found a player whose style he really liked but of course he liked it, because it was the same as his.

Shuffle the Bison deck and take out one of our bigger British signings and maybe a return for Volrab might have been possible but the appearance of Owen and Greener, one a 40 point scorer in the EIHL and the other who scored over 70 points in the EPL means we have 2 Brits capable of top line minutes at centre which means Volrab was never likely to fit in.

Daniel Volrab is very good at what he does. He’s a role player and he’s got his role down to a tee. However the direction of the club has changed and Daniel has landed back on his feet at a club he’s spent a lot of time with at a level that he can excel at. With that in mind, I get a feeling this country won’t have seen the last of him.

All the best Daniel.

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