Building the Herd – Grant Rounding

#17 Grant Rounding

Position: Forward

Born: Johanesberg, South Africa

Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 30th June

Round again; Grant Rounding looks to rebound from an injury hit tenure to shine in 2016/17. (c) 5 Hole Photography

Round again; Grant Rounding looks to rebound from an injury hit tenure to shine in 2016/17.
(c) 5 Hole Photography

Doug Sheppard added some depth to the Bison squad with another two returnees this week. We start with the return to the Bison of British/South African forward, Grant Rounding.

Like so many EPL players playing in the South, 25 year old Rounding is a product of the excellent Bracknell system. Rounding came through the under 16 Stingers and impressed along the way. He started under 19s hockey with the Drones in 2006 and by the end of 2006/07 had made his debut in senior hockey with the Bracknell Hornets in the old ENL South.

Rounding continued to split time between the Drones and the Hornets until he became too old for junior hockey at the start of the 2008/09 season when he moved full time to the ENL. Over the next 3 campaigns he scored 59 points and in 2010/11 his efforts saw him called into the Bees squad on 20 occasions.

For 2011/12, Rounding made the move over to the Isle of Wight but had his season cut short after 16 points in 16 games due to injury. After recovering from his injury, Rounding headed back to Bracknell for 2012/13, starting the season with the Hornets but was called up to the EPL and the Bees full time as he finished with 9 points in 49 games.

It was enough to earn Rounding another contract in Bracknell for 2013/14 where he continued to turn heads as he registered 19 points in 52 games.

That was enough to peak Doug Sheppard’s interest who coaxed Rounding into the Bison side to defend their newly won double and he has remained with the club since that time.

To say the last couple of seasons haven’t gone quite to plan for Grant Rounding would probably be something of an understatement. Injury has limited Rounding to appearing in less than 50% of available games over his time in Basingstoke with 9 points, last season seeing him score 1 solitary assist before being rewarded with a beauty of a goal in the playoffs as he rifled one past Stephen Fone.

As a result, we enter the 3rd season of the South African in Basingstoke without ever really having seen the best of Rounding. We’ve seen flashes of what he can do without ever realy getting the full experience. There’s an argument that last season he even came back too soon as he pushed to prove that he was worth taking a chance on again.

So what do we get from a fully fit Grant Rounding? For me, a lot of what Rounding can do was summed up in one game in his first season. During the Bison’s first away trip to the newly refurbished Milton Keynes rink, it didn’t go well. The team didn’t play brilliantly but were nearly single handidly dragged back into the game by Rounding. He used his speed to get to the puck before others, he skated and skated and skated, he used his quick reactions in the slot to get shots past the netminder. The Bison lost the game but it was one of the easier man of the match selections I’ve seen live.

Rounding is somewhat architypical of a “Doug Sheppard player”. Sheppard is not averse to signing role players as we know but on the whole he likes his players to be a bit like he played. He likes players that will keep their feet moving, that will run themselves ragged for the cause. He wants players that will not quit which is why Rounding is the sort of player that has stuck around. Yes, his injuries have hindered his progress. At 25, any hopes of Rounding being a top line free scoring winger might be something that falls by the wayside but when 100% on any given night there are options that he provides. If he gets fully fit then he can be that 3rd line energy player or maybe a speedier 2nd line winger. He can do a job on special teams and provided his speed stays with him, there’s a real job he could do in 3on3 OT with a lot of ice to use.

Given the last couple of years there is no real point in putting great predictions of how many points he will score out in to the world because Grant needs a bit of fortune on his side. We’ve seen what could be, we’ve seen the trailer. It is time for the full show.

Welcome back, Grant.

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