Building the Herd – Elliott Dewey

#13 Elliott Dewey

Position: Defence

Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire

Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 13th June

 

The last of Coach Sheppard’s teenage signings was a new face to the fans of the EPL Bison but was also a case of a young man returning to where he began with the signing of 16 year old Elliott Dewey.

Dewey started with the Junior Bison in 2006 spending two seasons and becoming an under 11 conference player in his second season. When Dewey’s conference coach Lee Ealey-Newman left the Bison junior set up for Bracknell for 2008/09, Dewey followed and the following season they both moved onto the Slough Junior Jets set up where Elliott has stayed since 2009. Dewey has played for the Jets under 16 side for 4 years totalling 62 appearances scoring 17 goals and 16 assists for 33 points and a total of 92 PIMs. In 2012/13 Dewey also broke into the Jets under 18 side appearing 14 times scoring 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points with 24 PIMs. Since last summer, Dewey has been training with the Bison’s EPL roster but his age prevented him in playing in EPL games. He did however make an appearance in a Bison jersey when he played in the Steve Moria Testimonial game.

Dewey has been a conference player for 6 consecutive years since 2007/08 including being an all star at U15 level in 2010/11. Dewey has also represented England at u14, u15 and u16 levels and was captain of the u14s. He’s due to attend a GB under 18s camp in August of this year.

Dewey offered his own thoughts on his signing with the Bison; “I have been lucky enough to train with the Bison for the last season and already learnt a lot from the senior players but realise I still have a lot to learn and am excited to join the Bison to develop my game and take it to the next level. I want to be a part of this team and plan to work hard for my place on it!”

I’ve sadly not watched Elliott Dewey play. If I had the chance I’d love to watch more junior hockey to see the up and coming players coming through. I blame time constraints and Top Rank closing the Southampton rink for that. However you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realise that for the Bison to add a 16 year old to the roster that Doug Sheppard thinks there’s something a bit special about the young man.

His numbers in juniors speak of defenceman able to put numbers on the board but his game and his role this season will be vastly different at EPL to what it is at juniors. He goes from being at the top of the totem pole to the bottom again. His ice time will be minimal, his chances on special teams will be very limited but what an opportunity this young man has. Some teams have been better at bringing through junior players into the senior ranks, the Bison haven’t been great in the past but are getting better. The EIHL model that the Bison had never lent itself brilliantly to bringing players from the junior club to the big team because there was no in-between step. What Cardiff and Coventry have with their NIHL sides works to a degree but that separation between the Bison and the Buffalo always meant there was a gap that was arguably too wide because there was no middle step to reach that EIHL standard without going somewhere for seasoning first. Now the Bison are an EPL club, the gap is a bit smaller and bringing players from the junior side of things into the senior side is meant to be part of the the deal. If we’re truly a development league in the EPL then the Bison need more Elliott Deweys to be given that chance. Clubs like Bracknell, Slough, Swindon and Sheffield have what I feel is a much more tangible link between the junior and senior set up. That’s not to say the other clubs don’t have it as well but those clubs mentioned have in my opinion a much clearer path from junior hockey to senior hockey and hopefully Elliott (though admittedly his is not a path that comes directly from our junior system) and Connor Standing and Stuart Mogg getting onto the EPL roster can pave the way for players like Ryan Sutton, the Tambellini brothers, Hallam Wilson, Connor’s brother Jack Standing and others to give the Bison a real production line of local, home seasoned talent that can become EPL, EIHL and national team players for years to come.

Yes, Elliott’s development has gone a more convoluted route as he chose to stick with the coaches who developed him but that route has worked. He’s become an EPL full time roster player at 16 and is the youngest player to do that as a Bison for a fair old while.

What can we expect from him? It’s hard to say. The young man himself has said above that he knows he has to work hard and he will be under no illusions as to the fact he needs to take every chance he gets at ice time. It’s the start of a young man’s journey and we get to be in on the ground floor to some extent, that’s exciting to me.

Welcome to senior hockey, Elliott. You’re clearly not a superstitious lad judging by the jersey number but then again they say you have to be good to be lucky anyway.

 

A very big thank you to Debbie Dewey for her help in this article, further proof that hockey parents really are a unique breed of awesome.

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