Goodnight and Good Luck – Connor Standing

Ahead of the promised new face to be added to the Bison roster tomorrow, the team say farewell to one of last season’s team with the news that backup netminder Connor Standing will not be returning for 2014/15

(c) 5 Hole Photography

(c) 5 Hole Photography

What have we lost?

With Connor’s departure, the Bison lose a good netminding prospect. It’s the toughest job in the world being a backup netminder and his ice time was certainly limited but in his time with the Bison he has had the opportunity to train alongside some good netminders including Stevie Lyle who of course started for Great Britain whilst in Basingstoke. Connor is reportedly a sponge when it comes to his training and takes it seriously so now he has the opportunity to put those skills learned into better practice, Doug Sheppard will no doubt be keeping an eye on things.

Where has he gone?

At the moment we don’t know bar to be a starter at an NIHL 1 South team. Given the departure of Christian Cole to the Wightlink Raiders, rumours already abound that Connor will sign for the Solent and Gosport Devils but that is unconfirmed at this time. Neither Bracknell nor Oxford have announced netminders and they would all be options as well.

Who replaces him?

At the moment, nobody though it will be interesting to see where Sheppard goes on this one. Manchester have recently announced their netminding duo for the upcoming season as Stephen Fone and Declan Ryan who are both EPL quality starting netminders. There are pros and cons to having a 1a/1b goalie duo which we won’t debate here and now but whether Sheppard goes for such a combination or wants Skinns to carry the majority of the workload and sign an up and coming prospect to be backup is a question as yet unanswered. I’d venture the later over the former but you never know.

Final thoughts:

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that probably the only thing I’ll grumble about over the course of last season was that somehow we couldn’t find a way to give Connor a single second of ice time. I understand that Dean Skinns wanted to prove a point and he did that in spades. Given the nature of some criticism that was thrown his way when he returned I don’t blame him but there were definitely situations where Sheppard could have found 5 minutes for a developing netminder and not have caused any issue.

That gripe out of the way, I don’t think there’s many of us that will disagree that this is a good move for Connor wherever he is going. If he’s going to become a starter at NIHL 1 level then he is going to be facing some decent quality shooters (his former team mate Jaroslav Cesky for one who has joined the Isle of Wight for one) and get good ice time in a league with teams with a variety of game plans.

It will be a change of pace for him, if as expected he signs for a mid to lower end side, as he will be facing a ton of rubber after essentially 2 seasons cold but this is the point. It’s time to put some of that training alongside EPL all star netminders and shots from EPL all star defenders and forwards in warmups into game time situations and I for one, wish him all the best in the new challenge.

Enjoy yourself, Connor. We’ll all be keeping an eye out.

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