Building the Herd – Grant Rounding

#17 Grant Rounding

Position: Forward

Born: Johannesburg, South Africa

Announced as signed: Bison season ticket night, 4th June

Supersonic; Grant Rounding will return for the Bison in 2015/16. (c) 5 Hole Photography

Supersonic; Grant Rounding will return for the Bison in 2015/16.
(c) 5 Hole Photography

After the announcement of a forward turned defenceman, we move onto the return of an out an out forward with the return to the Bison of Grant Rounding.

Rounding, 24, will be entering his 2nd season with the Bison after an impressive if injury hit first campaign. South African born, Rounding started playing hockey in the junior system at Basingstoke before moving to the highly regarded youth system at Bracknell. After some impressive numbers at u16 level, Rounding made his senior hockey debut in the old ENL for the Bracknell Hornets in the 2006/07 season.

After progressing well through under 18s and a good final season in junior hockey where he went over 2 points a game, Rounding joined the Hornets full time for 2008/09 where he stayed for the next 3 years. 2010/11 was a successful year for Rounding as his point per game form in the ENL saw him drafted into playing 20 games and registering a goal and an assist with the Bees.

The following season saw a departure for Rounding as he left Bracknell for the Isle of Wight Raiders. Rounding started the season well scoring 16 points in 16 games before suffering a season ending injury.

Rounding rehabilitated and returned back “home” as he re-signed for the Hornets at the start of the 2012/13 season. Having been drafted in to fill a hole in the Bees roster, eventually Grant’s efforts were re-paid and he was added to the EPL side’s roster full time playing 49 games and scoring 9 points. Since that point Rounding hasn’t played in the NIHL playing the 2013/14 season with the Bees registering a respectable 19 points in 52 games and impressing Doug Sheppard to the point that the Bison’s head coach lured Rounding back to where his hockey journey began.

We should address the elephant in the room right off the bat; how bad is the knee injury of Grant Rounding? I’m led to believe that it will mean that Rounding is likely to miss the start of the season which is naturally a shame. Rounding himself tells me that it’s just a case of getting better and stronger and being ready to go when the time comes.

In some ways I find Grant Rounding really hard to write about and it’s for tow reasons;

The first is that his style of play is relatively straight forward. There’s not a massive amount of nuance to it but he uses his speed well, makes the hits when needed, occasionally chips in points when he can. That’s what he does. It’s good. I could go on and on (and have done in the past) about how clubs need players that add depth to the squad and that’s what Rounding is for the Bison. You can’t and don’t need to go into massively long dissections of his game because the game that Doug Sheppard asks him to play is obvious but also entirely necessary.

The second is I find him so entertaining that his game is really hard for me to analyse objectively at times. If you don’t enjoy watching a player like Grant Rounding then I’m generally going to be at a loss as to what to say to you. I like my grafters and my grinders in hockey; the people that do the unsung and the unnoticed. That’s not to say that Rounding’s talents aren’t noticed, the penalty shot winner against Guildford being the prime example but people will wax lyrical about the Karpovs and Longs of the world whereas occasionally just spend entire chunks of periods watching what players like Rounding will do and sometimes lose track of the play. I’m not trying to blow smoke up Rounding’s backside but what can I say? The guy is fun to watch.

Where Grant goes for 2015/16 hinges on a couple of factors. In a brief conversation whilst writing this, Rounding said he felt he had more to prove which I sympathise with. At times his ice time was limited and a long spell out with injury really put a bit of a cramp on his season and his ability to showcase himself in his best light because he was trying to get into a game or get back into it.

How Rounding gets used as well is very much dependant on who else is signed. I think it’s a relatively safe bet that the season will start with Long and Greener playing together and whether they’re initially centred by Karpov or Thompson remains to be seen but that will be one of the top two lines. If Joe Rand returns for example then it’s entirely possible that Rounding could play alongside Karpov to add speed and space to allow the Czech forward room to work some of his magic or Rounding plays alongside Rand as they go clanging and banging around. If someone else is signed then it throws an element of uncertainty as to where he fits into the even strength rotation. One thing we can likely be certain of is that when fit, Rounding will certainly fit into the penalty killing unit where he speed causes instant pressure on the forecheck as the opposition looks to restart the play.

When we get to see Grant Rounding in 2015/16 remains to be seen. Injuries, especially knee ones are tricky for hockey players so careful management is needed. The young man himself thinks he has a point to prove; how he sets about doing so with the opportunities given remain to be seen.

Welcome back, Grant.

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