Banners On The Wall 2013/14 Player of the YearPosted: 14/03/2014
With the nomination process closing a week ago, 5 players got the necessary votes so the panel sat down, deliberated and we are proud to announce the winner of the “Edijs Brahmanis Trophy” and the Banners On The Wall Player of the Year.
Winner: #44 Tomas Karpov
“I would say playmaking is his natural game but he definitely showed his ability to score. He’s hard working too which is good to see from an import and has quite a few tricks up his sleeve which the Bison fans should be pleased about.” Tim Burrows, 11/7/13
Having joined the Bison from Telford Tigers along with Burrows, the 25 year old Czech forward more than lived up to his former team mate’s assessment of his abilities. Alongside being the team’s top scorer in both goals and points, it is Karpov’s overall play and the level of excitement that he brings to Bison games that has made him a popular player with the fanbase and ultimately won him the title of player of the year.
Jamie Walker, Bison website writer said Karpov was “the best two way import in the league”
Bison super fan Nigel Simmonds summed up Karpov thus; “Quite simply, this guy is awesome. He’s so talented and a joy to watch from the stands. He has the ability to turn opponents defences inside out, with his slick and sometimes, unbelievable stick work. Great two-way player and an almost immediate fans favourite.”
Karpov received the most nominations of any player and after the panel’s discussions was the clear winner.
#63 Aaron Connolly
Having joined the Bison from Slough at the start of the season, Connolly’s work rate, tenacity and sheer bloody mindedness were instant topics of discussion amongst the panel. Hannah Driver, Bison off ice official and schools coordinator sumsup the feelings of many by classifying the Northfleet born 20 year old as “one of the best British offensive forwards in the league, he works hard; often underrated and underestimated.”
Grant King of 5 Hole Photography was also full of high praise for Connolly. “(Aaron) always gives 110%. He never lets his head drop & has a maturity beyond his years. Since the start of the season he has been the most vocal & motivating person on the bench. He walks the walk rather than just talking.”
Connolly is in course for his best ever season points wise and was awarded the alternate captaincy after the departure of Joe Miller.
#9 Andy Melachrino
“He has shown such resilience and will to succeed this season. He has grown into an incredible player, scoring important goals against tough teams” said Hannah Driver when asked to describe Melachrino’s season. The former Guildford and Slough player is having a breakout year in his second Bison campaign. After an injury hit 2012/13, the 20 year old has broken the 30 point barrier this season where before his EPL totals had never made double figures.
The man that Grant King called “the hardest player to shoot on a game night” was also praised for his grit and determination to go into the dirty areas when needed.
#45 Dean Skinns
Jamie Walker was honest when asked about Dean Skinns; “He was my one question mark going into the season but has been immense” and it was very much the feeling of the panel as a whole.
When Skinns left the Basingstoke Bison in December 2011, he had a GAA of 3.69 and had been beaten to the number 1 role by Matt Colclough. The Dean Skinns that the Bison fans have seen in 2013/14 has been has been nothing short of a revelation as the former Junior Bison is having statistically his best season since 2008.
Nigel Simmonds was glowing in his praise for Skinns, “his early form, including 4 shut-outs, have been a major factor why the Bison…have a great chance of winning silverware.”
#11 Zach Sullivan
The GB under 20 international in his second season with the Herd has arguably been the Bison’s top defenceman this campaign. Now being used in all on ice situations, the panel was unanimous in recognising “Sully’s” improvement.
Grant King is hoping to see Sullivan in a Bison jersey for a few more seasons; “I think if we keep him for the next few seasons we could have the best British D Pairing in the league along side Kurt. His positional play has been awesome.”
Hannah Driver added “he has grown so much this season and has certainly benefited from having the experience of Kurt and Joe (Baird)…Definitely the most improved player this season.”
The entire Bison squad have been fantastic this campaign and whilst not every player qualified for the final award, the panel felt some were worthy of mentions.
#57 Danny Ingoldsby; one member of the panel felt it was worth mentioning the young man who 2 weeks before the season was going to split time between Guildford’s under 18s and Harringey Racers in NIHL 2 and on opening night was part of an EPL roster. The youngster has a lot of developing to do but the raw talent that Danny possesses is clear to see.
#89 Ciaran Long; signed just before Christmas as a replacement for Joe Miller, the self proclaimed “youngest veteran in the EPL” stepped into the Bison lineup and has been an instant hit. His recent partnership with Joe Greener and Nicky Chinn has proved a big hit on the ice.
#86 Joe Rand; last year’s player of the year has returned for his second season in a Bison jersey and again been a pillar of consistency, quality and effort. A slightly injury hit campaign for the Hamilton, Ontario native has still seen an increased goal tally.
#7 Kurt Reynolds; like Rand, a player whose high level of consistency sometimes means he never really gets all the plaudits he deserves, the rock at the back of the Bison defence returned for another campaign where he is beyond solid at the back and can turn on a sixpence to get out of a tight spot with the puck.
#28 Doug Sheppard; the man who bought silverware back to Basingstoke.
A massive thank you to Hannah, Jamie, Nigel and Grant (visit the site, buy a print) for being part of the panel again this year, thank you as well to all the people who nominated someone for the award and thanks to the team for giving me something to write.
Congratulations to all the nominees and to Tomas who will receive his…err…trophy soon.