The BOTW Player of the Year 2015/16

As is now tradition the fans voted for their finalists. 6 players made the final and were discussed by our panel that I affectionately call “The Council of Badass”. With the council having made their choice, the time has come to announce this year’s winner of the most drinkable trophy in sports, the “Edjis Brahmanis Trophy”.

Banners On The Wall Player of the Year 2015/16: #63 Aaron Connolly

(c) 5 Hole Photography

(c) 5 Hole Photography

The third time is the charm for Aaron after making the final in 2014 and 2015 as he becomes the first British forward to win joining Joe Rand, Tomas Karpov and Kurt Reynolds as a recipient of the award. In his third season with the club and his first as captain, 22 year old Connolly has now won every trophy on offer in the EPL with the Bison as the club secured their first league title since 1993 last Sunday. The captain is popular across the league, with team mates and the Bison fans with 2015/16 seeing him have a career year in goals and points with two games still to go.

Award judge, veteran ice hockey player and Bison off-ice official Hannah Driver characterised Connolly by saying “he has played hurt, ill, even with his lip half hanging off! He always gives 100% to every shift and raises the spirit of every other player on the bench.”

Fellow judge and club photographer, Grant King summed up Connolly by saying “his never say die attitude & skate till you drop style has helped him lead by example & every one of those guys in the locker room are with him 100%.”

Other nominees:

#50 Jon Baston

After signing for the team in the wake of an injury to Tomas Hiadlovsky early in December, 21 year old Baston was reportedly heading back to Finland when he received a call from Doug Sheppard and his season changed. Baston registered 6 shutouts in his first 11 games with the Herd and his combined numbers with his time at Hull give him a 91.44 save percentage across the season. The Finn’s ability to somehow keep pucks out of the net in the crush saved the Bison on many occasions.

#53 Tomas Hiadlovsky

A lot of people were initially wary of Hiadlovsky’s puck playing style in the early part of the season (a trait of his I personally like) and when he got injured, many thought he would be on his way out of the club with the success Baston was having. However after his return from injury, Hiadlovsky was rotated back in and is undefeated since his return. Hannah Driver added “he started our league campaign off well and he’s come back stronger and better and it takes a big man to do that after the success and charisma that Jonny has brought to the team.”

#92 Alan Lack

Boy, I used to hate this guy” said award judge and Bison super fan, Nigel Simmonds, “but as in previous years, with other players (Chinn, Cornish, Greener, Wales) that joined the Bison, I have come to admire them because of everything they do, when you see these guys play, week in, week out.” Lack originally signed on a two-way deal but impressed so much in pre-season that he was offered a full time deal. Lack’s no nonsense physical style have made him popular with the fans and he’s formed a potent scoring partnership with Tomas Karpov.

#94 Stuart Mogg

To say Mogg has had a breakout year would be an understatement so large you could ride it to the Isle of Wight. Having transitioned from forward to defence, Mogg picked up a lot of man of the match beers early in the campaign but also saw time as a forward due to injuries. One of the judges, Jamie Walker said Mogg was “the most improved player on the team over the last 2 seasons by a country mile. Versatile, smooth skater, moves the puck well, calm and plays wherever will help the team.”

#7 Kurt Reynolds

The 2015 player of the year, 29 year old Reynolds had another stellar year leading the Bison defence. Now in his 8th year with the Bison, the Basingstoke born player has built on his reputation as one of the league’s premier defencemen, British or otherwise. Grant King of 5 Hole Photography said Kurt is the “best British D-man in my opinion and has been for years; never panics & very rarely chooses the wrong play coming forward.”

Thanks once again to Grant, Hannah, Jamie and Nigel for their help and time with this. Congratulations to Aaron and we’ll get his trophy to him on Sunday after he picks up something silver that we’ve all been after.

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