Goodnight and Good Luck – Matt SelbyPosted: 25/04/2015
It was something of a rushed press release late on Friday evening but the Bison announced that Matt Selby was leaving the club.
Speaking to Banners On The Wall about his departure Selby said “I just want to say thank you to everyone and a special mention about Shep (Doug Sheppard) and all the support he has given me over the past couple years. To the fans; thanks for everything and always been supportive and to the club as a whole for been a great organisation! I met some great people in my time there and the place is a part of me. The boys were like family. I had a wake up call last season and at this time on my life I feel the right thing to do is move on.”
What have we lost?
More on the obvious in a bit. When fit and well, Selby is one of the best defensive prospects in the league and arguably the country. His positioning is good, his physicality is great asset to the side and we saw that he’s not afraid to throw down when needs be. Selby had arguably been misused by the Blaze as a forward and the Bison had used him in his best position and given him ice time in a variety of situations and he looked comfortable doing them. The Bison lose a player who was going places.
Where has he gone?
At the moment, we don’t know. Rumours abound that Selby will join his GB under 20 coach Pete Russell at Milton Keynes but I’m not so sure. Whilst Milton Keynes is the obvious choice there are a couple of teams within distance of Selby’s home in Coventry that would be easy for him to travel to and play for like Peterborough who have just won the playoffs and have new owners or Swindon rebuilding (of sorts) with new coach Stevie Lyle. That said, I’ve been informed that champions Telford are not on the list of potential candidates for his services.
Who replaces him?
At the moment, not a clue. The press release said that an agreement was in place and then Selby agreed to go elsewhere meaning that said Sheppard has to scramble and see what’s out there. However there is time and a chunk of the available talents are still unsigned.
I might be reading too much in to this but there’s something of a subtext in the Bison’s press release from my reading of it;
“An agreement had been in place for the 19-year-old to return to the club for 2015/16 season and ice once he had fully recovered from his injury. However, the Birmingham-born player has decided to take an opportunity elsewhere, and as a result, will no longer play for the Stampede.”
By my reading of that, the club is saying Selby agreed to return then was enticed to go somewhere else. If that is the case, the release from the Bison could have been a lot harsher (remember some of the releases regarding Steve Moria) and to see the club not go all guns blazing is rather refreshing.
It’s a double edged sword this one; the Bison stood by Selby during all his injuries. They worked with the GB doctors to try and get him back to full fitness to be ready for the World Under 20s championships where he captained GB. He was scheduled to come back and then chooses to leave for another club after all that had been done. Some could say the club would be justifiably annoyed.
However hockey is a short career and nobody blames players for making hay whilst the sun shines. Selby’s career may have been actively shortened by the concussions he received in 2014/15 so if another club has made him an offer that made better financial sense than the one that Basingstoke could offer him then who is anyone to stop him and who should? Selby’s weighed up his options, made his decision and as outsiders to it we should respect his decision.
My biggest concern with Selby is that whatever club he plays for, he rushes back to play when he really shouldn’t. Selby is 20 years old and has the potential to play for another 20 years if he takes care of himself. Coming off an injury so bad that he ended up being featured on a BBC Radio 4 documentary about head injuries in sport, this is a crucial time. I’m not saying this because he’ll be playing against us but look at the long game; a player who has the potential to be a national team stalwart in a couple of years has had 2 on ice concussions in a couple of months. Don’t rush him back.
When he is back to fitness, I’ll still enjoy watching him play. Selby is an easy player to like because he’s one of those guys who plays with a smile on his face. He loves the sport and enjoys getting stuck in out there. The hope is that he’ll continue his upward trend and be back in the top flight playing the right position before too long
All the best Matt, take care of yourself.