Building the Herd – Kurt Reynolds

#7 Kurt Reynolds

Position: Defence

Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire

Announced as signed: Bison season ticket night, 5th June

 

After a few words from young Mr Wynn, Doug Sheppard returned to the stage and made everyone in attendance at the season ticket night very happy as he announced the return to the Bison of star defenceman and fan favourite Kurt Reynolds.

Reynolds, 26 made his first foray into senior hockey for the Guildford Flames when he dressed 3 times in the 2002/03 BNL season alongside playing for the Guildford Phoenix in the then u19 league scoring 18 points from 13 games. Reynolds moved to the US in 2003 where he first played as part of the Soo Indians Major Midget set up before moving to be part of the Connecticut Wolfpack in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.

After his time in the US was done, Reynolds returned to Britain where he joined Bracknell for the 2007/08 EPL campaign scoring 14 points in 39 games for the Bees and 3 points in 7 playoff games. He also made 2 guest appearances for the Nottingham Panthers as he got his first taste of Elite League action.

Since 2008, Reynolds has worn a Bison jersey. After the disastrous 2008/09 EIHL campaign for the club that saw him gain some personal acclaim from fans across the EIHL, Reynolds was the only member of the roster to remain with the Bison into the EPL under Steve Moria and has been a key part of every campaign for the Herd since the change of leagues. Reynolds has chalked up 232 appearances in his 5 seasons so far for the Bison scoring 13 goals and 49 assists for 62 points and 219 PIMs. At the end of the 2011/12 season, Reynolds picked up the coach’s, supporters’ player and supporters’ British player of the season.

Reynolds’ international experience amounted to him appearing 9 times for GB under 18s for whom he scored 3 points and 10 times for GB under 20s for whom he scored 4 points.

What if…” must be the most annoying phrase in the English language but sadly it will hang over the 2012/13 Basingstoke Bison because in amongst all the possible scenarios of what could have happened last year one sticks out more than others for the majority of the fanbase; what if Kurt Reynolds hadn’t got injured?

I’ve said on here enough times that whilst it wasn’t the only reason for the lack of silverware, the loss of Reynolds was a big deal. The injury to his leg meant that the Bison lost the best defensive player in the EPL. It’s not a case of him being the best British player either, there’s an argument that can be made that he’s the best defenceman in the league. I might get accused at hyperbole there or blowing the trumpet too much and that’s fine but that’s my genuine opinion of Reynolds’ abilities. I appreciate that I do watch the guy week in, week out and it gives me a much different appreciation of his game than others might do but even if he’s not the best in your eyes, he has to be pretty close.

Hands, wheels, positioning, strength on the puck, there isn’t much he does wrong at times and the mean streak that he added to his game in the 2011/12 season has just made him a joy to watch at times. He’s a low scoring, stay at home, responsible defenceman. It’s hardly the most glamorous sounding of players is it, which is what makes the fact he’s held in such high regards by the Bison fanbase at large so refreshing. They realise what a good hockey player he is and that the sport is much more than just scoring goals or levelling people with hits or fighting though he can do all three. They appreciate the little things he does that make up his game as well as the obvious bits.

Reynolds arguably shouldn’t be in the EPL. Along with Luke Boothroyd and Sam Oakford, there are some players who, in my opinion really should be playing (and excelling as I’m sure all three would) at a higher level. It’s obviously not that simple but I suppose that’s another “what if” to add to the pile.

The other “what if” is can he stay fit this season? At the season ticket night, Reynolds said his ankle was “close to perfect”. With Sheppard announcing the intention to run 6 defencemen as well, if something happens to either top end defenders (Reynolds and Vantroba for the sake of argument) then the coach has signalled his intention to make this a really deep defensive corps to cover that possibility. I still expect to see Reynolds see a lot of ice time though whatever happens.

Rumours of a move to Guildford aside, some hard work has been done to bring back one of the club’s star performers in the wake of losing a couple of high end performers and the club should be applauded for that.

Tomorrow’s article will be an interesting one but for now, welcome back Kurt. If you’d be so kind as to re-engage Beast Mode we’d all be most grateful. (I’m not fishing for a free haircut, promise.)

 

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