Building the Herd – Dan Weller EvansPosted: 20/08/2015
#93 Dan Weller-Evans
Born: Bridgend, Wales
Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 20th August
With Dean Skinns having departed for Milton Keynes, Doug Sheppard used the opportunity to confirm the return of Dan Weller-Evans as the Bison’s backup netminder.
Banners On The Wall caught up with #93 who offered some thoughts on his return to the Herd;
“It’ll be a tough yeah for me, but every year is a tough year, you make it tough for yourself to push yourself harder and become a better player! So a tough year is what I’ve prepared for, that’s fine with me!
Preparing with Tomas in front of me will be the same as preparing with Dean in front of me, I always prepare to play, because there is always a chance I could play! There is never a game where you have zero chance of playing, especially when it could be your only performance for months! I’d be sitting there that whole time until my next showing being angry if I wasn’t prepared. So it’s basically the exact same. I’d like to think I’m a very hard working goalie, that’s a big factor as to why I’m here in Basingstoke.
I’ve said before that I’d love nothing more than to be the future of the Bison and that won’t come easy, so keeping my head down and working hard is what I will be doing in order to get there!”
The former Bison junior saw no ice time in the league last season but had an impressive .914 save percentage and a 0.5 GAA in the 3 challenge cup games he played last season, two of those against he former side Wightlink Raiders.
21 year old Weller-Evans was a late convert to ice hockey having been a promising roller hockey goalie. After breaking in with the Bison’s under 18 side, he moved to the Isle of Wight junior system in 2010/11 as well as making a few appearances for the Wightlink Raiders and Tigers. Dan split 2011/12 between the Raiders and Tigers before becoming the Raiders backup full time in 2012, earning his first senior shutout away at Streatham in the 2013/14 season before being given the call by Doug Sheppard to start 2014/15.
A long summer of waiting is done and we finally have out netminding duo for the season. The position that Dan Weller-Evans found himself in across this off season seems to feel almost a little unfair at times; the club announces a big name import netminder and admits that it’s publicly negotiating with Skinns about a return. Don’t get me wrong, Weller-Evans likely signed very early in the summer and this has been announced now that the situation with Skinns is finished with his move to Milton Keynes but sitting there wondering if you’re going to be number one or number two can’t be fun. Sitting there wondering if you’re going to be number two or number three must be likely even less fun.
Dan didn’t see a great deal of ice time last season, only seeing minutes in the crossover cup games against NIHL opposition and even then a knee injury limited the number of appearances that he made. Insert my usual caveats about how Dean Skinns should have been pulled when he was hurt here and we’ll move on.
The one thing that the crossover games did do though was put Weller-Evans in decent standing with the fans. His predecessor Connor Standing suffered from being a backup to Stevie Lyle then being behind a Dean Skinns firmly in the zone so never got that chance to get much time. I believe it amounted to 10 minutes in 2 seasons. The cup games were the real chance for Dan to actually put his training to use and he did alright. One fan I spoke to said after a cup game said “I feel quite confident now that if he had to go in because of injury, we’d be OK”.
That’s not to say that this won’t be a tough season for Dan; his ice time will likely be more limited with no cup to play in and Tomas Hiadlovsky ahead of him but he knows what he has signed up for. It’s about being ready, it’s about training hard and being on hand should he be needed.
I spoke last season how I was proud of Dan on a personal level. Having known Dan since his teens, I was pleased for a young lad to be given his chance by his home town team. We need someone to be solid when called upon, to give their all when required. He may not be Henrik Lundqvist but Dan Weller-Evans will do all he can to stop then puck when asked. How many chances he gets to do so is in the lap of the gods.