Goodnight and Good Luck – Brendan BairdPosted: 22/04/2015
Buried at the bottom of the press release about Michael Wales was one line that sees the roster’s youngest member leave the Herd so we wish Brendan Baird well on his way.
What have we lost?
The Bison lose its depth defenceman, there’s no other way to really paint that. Unfortunately for Brendan he was used sparingly during the league campaign, only really when games were long decided or when injuries were really mounting and even then he was injured for a large chunk of the season. He did get his chance to log some massive minutes (mainly alongside his brother as a defensive pairing) in the cup games against NIHL opposition. In the games that I saw he looked comfortable and capable on the puck. There were some moments of nerves but I suppose that’s to be expected from a young defenceman not getting a lot of time.
Where has he gone?
At the moment, we don’t know the answer to that. I have to think that maybe he’ll follow the same path that Elliott Dewey did. Dewey spent this season with Invicta logging decent minutes in NIHL 1 South and the Dynamos came away with 2nd in the league, runners up in the playoffs and winners of the cup. I have to imagine that Brendan will follow a similar route.
Who replaces him?
At the moment that’s also unknown though rumours are that Wightlink Raiders defenceman and former GB u18 international Simon Hobbis will finally make the step up to the EPL and join the Bison. Hobbis has been on a two way contract and training with the Bison at times during this past season and is held in high regard at NIHL level. At 19, now is the ideal time for him to make the jump to the higher level.
I’m a bit sad that all that was managed for Brendan Baird’s departure was one line at the bottom of the press release telling us about Michael Wales. I always feel that one line releases are for people released mid-season for massive infractions of club discipline rather than fringe squad players who contributed. Baird tried, he just arguably wasn’t ready or Sheppard didn’t feel that he was ready enough to justify giving him more minutes than he got. Along with being injured for a decent portion of the season, it wasn’t a recipe for success.
Ultimately given his age, Baird has a choice of either continuing to sit on the Bison bench or finding a roster spot elsewhere where he can get ice time, continue developing and work his way into a full time EPL roster spot at some stage.
From what I saw of Baird, the potential is there. The skills are there but they need refining and that refining can’t be done in training, it must be done in game. It’s facing decisions in real time, it’s being under pressure in real time. If he’s not going to get those minutes here, then going elsewhere to get them is only sensible.
All the best, Brendan. I’m sure we’ll see you again.
*Additional* After this piece was written, Brendan was announced as having joined Wightlink Raiders of NIHL1 South. It is no secret of BOTW’s affection for the Raiders and wishes Brendan all the best on the island. We are sure it will be an ideal match.