Building the Herd – Nicky Chinn

#27 Nicky Chinn

Position: Forward

Born: Cardiff, Wales

Announced as signed: Bison website, 14th May

The returnees keep on coming for the Bison as Doug Sheppard announced the return for 2014/15 of veteran forward, Nicky Chinn.

I’m really pleased to be back and winning 2 trophies in Basingstoke was definitely up there in my top career moments” said the returning captain to Banners On The Wall late last night.

(c) 5 Hole Photography

(c) 5 Hole Photography

Soon to be 42, Chinn rebounded from a tough 2012/13 season with Milton Keynes where he only scored 18 points to a 40 point season with 33 assists in what will be remembered as one of the best seasons in Basingstoke hockey for some time. Chinn formed a fierce partnership with Joe Rand and Aaron Connolly as a line that could score points and hit anything that moved. Chinn’s season was capped off by lifting the EPL Cup in Basingstoke as well as scoring a highlight reel goal against Guildford at finals weekend as the Bison marched to the playoff crown. Nicky’s numbers in Basingstoke make him the 3rd highest British scorer in club history with 228 points in a total of 210 games (2 EIHL, 208 EPL).

His total EPL numbers now stand at 460 games played and 486 points. Due to his longevity in the game, Chinn is one of the few players who is a career point per game player in the EPL, BNL and British Hockey League. He was also a 0.5 point per game player in the Superleague. Excluding cup games, playoffs and any appearances for GB and senior and junior level, my maths has Chinn at 1048 regular season contests for 1162 points in 26 seasons which are astounding numbers for any player.

His available post season statistics stand at 164 games played for 139 points which works out at 0.8 points per game in the playoffs.

In addition to the two trophies last season, Chinn has won an EPL playoff crown with Slough, the BNL league and playoffs with Guildford, the Superleague playoffs with Sheffield Steelers and was voted Great Britain’s best player in the 1994 IIHF World Championships.

The date is Wednesday 5th June 2013 and Bison fans are crammed into the bar at the Basingstoke Arena. Cam Wynn and Kurt Reynolds are on the stage next to Doug Sheppard when he announces the return to the Bison of Nicky Chinn as captain of the Herd…and there’s a palpable reaction akin to the deflating of a balloon from many in attendance. Even fan chatter on the forums wasn’t uniformly positive; MK fans weren’t overly sad he was gone, some Bison fans weren’t pleased he was coming and some fans of other teams were just pointing and laughing; what a difference a year makes ladies and gentlemen.

When Chinn rejoined the Bison for 2013/14, Banners On The Wall said there were a couple of questions that needed to be answered:

Would he be used correctly? For all of Doug Sheppard’s line shuffling, Chinn was used effectively across the season and paired with linemates whose game benefitted from playing with him and vice versa.

Would he stay fit? Despite the obvious wince now and then, he played the full season. The injury thing as well is such pot luck anyway that you could be 42 or 22, if you get hurt then you get hurt.

Could he still go? I direct you to the video of the playoff semi final and final and rest my case, me’lud.

“We have a good core of players coming back, so we will be in the mix again I feel and I am ready to lift a few more trophies.”

That line of Chinn’s from the club’s official release speaks to a couple of things. Firstly, yes Nicky we’d all like to watch you lift a few more trophies. Secondly, expect a lot of what we saw last season from the Bison as a whole and Chinn. Then again, why not more of the same? The systems that Sheppard employed worked well and got the desired results and the way Chinn performed made those who weren’t so happy last June into believers. I mentioned last year that Chinn as a veteran leader on this team would help aid the younger guys buying in to Sheppard’s plans and it worked. Chinn was a great leader on this team and is clearly heavily respected by the side no matter their age. Whilst the pace of old may not be there, his vision on the ice and teaming with linemates like Connolly and Rand who possess speed by the bucket load combined with the fact he arguably has the best hands of anyone on the roster makes him a playmaking force to be reckoned with still. As with last season, I don’t think we see Nicky playing 25 minutes a night and being used for first unit powerplay and penalty kill but he’s still very much a vital cog in the Bison machine. The intangibles that he brings to the roster combined with his play meant that this was a no brainer for Sheppard to want him back and hopefully a no brainer for Chinny to come back.

Welcome back, Nicky. Get working on those arms, you’ve got silverware to be lifting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s