Goodnight and Good Luck – Dan Weller-EvansPosted: 21/05/2016
After two seasons in Bison colours and some able appearances in relief and a championship medal with his hometown team, backup netminder Dan Weller-Evans has opted to leave the Bison to rejoin the Wightlink Raiders.
Whilst Goodnight and Good Luck has something of a usual format, we got a chance to catch up with Dan at his secret island base so the format is going out of the window to bring you this exclusive chat.
BOTW: Dan, congratulations on your signing with the Raiders. What led to the move back to the island?
DWE: A few things led to me coming back here, both with hockey and my personal life. Hockey wise, the chance to play more games in the season and compete for ice time was huge for me. I am 22 now and I am at the age where I need to prove to myself I can fight for games and play a consistent string of games. When Jeremy Cornish contacted me about re-joining the Raiders it was an easy decision for me. He is a coach that I love playing for and a good friend away from hockey too. I know what I’m going to get from him and he knows what he will get from me. It doesn’t feel like I’m coming to a new team at all. In my personal life as well the island is a good move for me. My girlfriend is here and a change in our plans away from hockey has also contributed to this. She has travelled up to Basingstoke every week without fail for 2 seasons now and we have seen each other one night a week for 2 years so to have the opportunity to come down here and spend time together properly as well as play hockey was a no brainer for me. Working at Ryde Arena also makes my life easy here. Exciting times are coming for the rink which I’m sure you will all see when we are re-opened.
BOTW: You’re also heading into a new chapter in your personal life as you’re off to uni. Tell us about that.
DWE: I am off to university in Portsmouth to study Criminology, it’s what I have wanted to do when I finish playing and I am in the training stages with Hampshire Constabulary. The course is online and so I can work from home and my lectures are also online. So I can fit it round everything else but get my degree at the same time.
BOTW: What was the moment you’ll remember most from last season?
DWE: Honestly pretty much all of it. There’s a few moments I’d like to forget like the Sheffield game at home (the bench clearing brawl that saw Dan give Steeldogs backupThomas Barkworth a bit of a pasting, Ed.) but I think winning the league is the obvious one for me. I wasn’t even born when the league title was last won in Basingstoke and so to be a part of that success and actually contributing was amazing. I made so many friends in my time in Basingstoke and learned loads. I had Tomas (Hiadlovsky) coaching me last year which was amazing and we became close friends away from hockey. We still speak every day. But I think I will also remember the room and the laughs we all had last year. There are no little groups in the team, they are one big family and I think that’s a huge credit to Doug and a huge reason for our success last year.
BOTW: Have you got any message for the fans as you go on your way?
DWE: Wow, where do I start? I was once a Bison fan watching games every Saturday in the Elite League and even when we would lose every game the fans were still the best but as a player you feel it a whole lot more. You are unbelievable and if I could take your noise with me I would. I want to say thank you for making me feel so welcome from the moment I was announced 2 seasons ago; always cheering me and the boys every week, home and away. You are like an extra player for us and I am so glad I was part of the team who could bring the league title back for you all to enjoy. As I have said before, I love the Bison and I will continue to do so. The team is going places and enjoy it! You deserve it just as much as they do!
Until next time!
Dan played a lot more this season than many expected him too and everyone had a mild heart attack when Tomas Hiadlovsky crumpled to the ice back in November but when he was called upon to step in, he stepped in and gave a good account of himself. As he said above, he’s made the choice to go back to the NIHL to test himself and see whether he can challenge Matt Colclough for game time and starts. That alone is a respectable choice but even more reasonable given the changes in his personal circumstances.
All the best, Dan.