Building the Herd – Alan Lack

#92 Alan Lack

Position: Forward

Born: Bracknell, Berkshire

Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 26th May

Front and centre: Alan Lack has signed on to return to the Bison in 2016/17. (c) 5 Hole Photography

Front and centre: Alan Lack has signed on to return to the Bison in 2016/17.
(c) 5 Hole Photography

After a double signing this week, it’s another double signing this week for the Bison. We’ll leave the new boy till later and look at the returnee first as Bison coach Doug Sheppard signalled a return to the Herd for Alan Lack.

23 year old Lack was originally signed on a two-way deal before pre-season started having signed to return to London Raiders. However after an impressive first pre-season outing, Lack skated out against Guildford in pre-season to be announced as a full time Bison player. To say Lack had a good 2015/16 with the Bison was an understatement; promoted to a full time deal after that one game, Lack had an EPL career year scoring 15 goals and 32 points from 42 games with 109 penalty minutes alongside managing to get married and have his honeymoon during the season.

A product of the Bracknell junior system, Lack made his u16 debut in the 2004/5 season and worked his way through the junior ranks at The Hive going from Worker Bees to Thunderbees to Stingers to Drones to Hornets, making his senior hockey debut in 2008/09 season.

Lack established himself as a mainstay at the old ENL level with the Hornets scoring 112 points in 3 full seasons along with the 2009/10 ENL title and earning game time with the Bees to the point that he was offered a full time contract in the EPL for the 2012/13 season. Lack continued to impress, scoring 8 goals 11 points in 45 games.

In 2013, Lack was tempted away from Bracknell as he moved to the newly named NIHL and signed for Invicta. After 6 games and 2 points however, circumstances changed and Lack moved back to his Berkshire base and the EPL to sign with Slough, putting up an impressive 23 points in 40 games with the Jets.

His performances for the Jets caught the eye of Slava Koulikov who offered Lack a chance to move to Peterborough for 2014/15. Proving a popular player with the fans, Lack tallied 14 points in 28 games before personal circumstances meant Lack had to return closer to home and he signed with London (formally Romford) Raiders to see out 2014/15, going over a point per game in the process and signing on for another season before Doug Sheppard came calling.

The analyst in me sees the need for agitating players, players who are willing to do the dirty work. Hockey is a multifaceted game where grit meets skill and you need players who are able to do one, the other or a bit of both. Alan Lack is quite clearly in one of those camps and I don’t think any of us are expecting him to speed through on the breakaway and then finish top shelf with a shot through the legs. Lack’s strength is his tenacity and his sheer propensity for not minding getting hit. Lack will go into corners and in front of the net, take the whacks and allow the team to profit from them. He’s a space creator for the higher end skill guys like Tomas Karpov and Lack’s points total profited massively from it. He made the space, let the skill guys do the work and reaped the benefits on the rebounds that he managed to get because his hard work kept him in that spot where another player might have been moved out of the way.

The fan in me loves Alan Lack, a man who when I showed a picture of him to my wife responded with “my word, he’s as wide as he is tall”. I talked a lot during the last season that one of the best bits about this Bison team was that they were a lot of fun to watch and they were clearly having a lot of fun out there for the most part. One of those reasons for me was Alan Lack.

I once joked to Lack on Twitter when he was with Peterborough that “if you’re going to sign a rat, sign King Rat” and at that time when everyone booed Alan Lack, I’d sit there laughing because he’s great entertainment. Is he going to score you 60 points a season? No. Is he going to carve a game wide open with a piece of skill? No. Will he work harder than anyone else? Yes. Can he be counted on to go wherever he’s needed whenever? Yes. Will he stand up for his team mates? Yes.

Aside from being popular with the fans and dependable, this is another one of those easy signings for Doug Sheppard. You will find no championship team anywhere without a player like him in it; a guy who will put his heart on his sleeve for the cause and help you reap rewards. You don’t sign Alan Lack to set the world alight, you sign him to be the fire.

Welcome back, Alan.

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