Building the Herd – Daniel Lackey

#9 Daniel Lackey

Position: Utility

Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire

Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 30th June

Daniel Lackey is rewarded with a contract for 2016/17. (c) 5 Hole Photography

Daniel Lackey is rewarded with a contract for 2016/17.
(c) 5 Hole Photography

Along with the return of Grant Rounding, Bison head coach Doug Sheppard announced that former junior Bison product, Daniel Lackey would be returning for the next season.

The 26 year old who can play forward or defence is well known to long time watchers of hockey in Basingstoke having only played 1 senior game for a team not based in the town, that being a lone game for the Solent Devils in 2014/15.

After coming through the junior ranks at under 16 and under 19 level, Lackey made his debut in senior hockey with the Buffalo the old ENL 1 South in the 2007/08 campaign playing 11 times whilst registering 12 points and 100 penalty minutes in 17 games for the under 18 side.

That season was the start of Lackey’s long running association with the Buffalo for whom he has played in 8 seasons with a break from hockey in 2013/14. Lackey’s Buffalo career spans 151 games, mostly in the NIHL 2 South for a total of 140 points. Lackey has spent most of his time with the Buffalo playing on defence and has regularly been towards the top of league scoring for defencemen during this time.

Lackey has also made sporadic appearances for the Bison during his career, generally as a forward. He was first called in to the EPL by then coach Steve Moria in the 2009/10 season where he appeared 3 times then made 13 appearances the following season, scoring his lone Bison goal.

After a long break from playing at EPL level, Lackey was announced at the start of 2015/16 as being on a 2 way contract but due to being over the age of 21, it meant the Bison could only use him for 3 appearances before needing to take him on full time. With injuries mounting up and the title race looming, Sheppard pulled the trigger and Lackey moved permanently from the Buffalo to the Bison full time at the start of February. Lackey provided much needed depth for the Herd, playing in a variety of roles but finding a regular spot alongside Tomas Karpov and Alan Lack in the later stages of the season as he appeared in 16 games and scored 3 assists. Lackey’s career numbers for the Bison stand at 4 points from 32 games.

One thing you need in every roster; depth, glorious depth. Today (Friday) Manchester are rightly trumpeting the fact that they’ve re-signed the league’s top point scorer from last season in Robin Kovar. Manchester’s on-ice problem last season of course was that they had little to no depth of their roster. Kovar’s really good but there’s an argument that he scored so many points because all of Manchester’s effective offence went through him. Whilst it’s not accurate to put all of the Bison’s title winning glory onto signing Dan Lackey, having that depth in quality in its roster is what won the Bison the championship. Having some depth, some extra bodies to take away that extra shift or two to stop your top end guys getting tired is important. The Bison are just fortunate that Lackey is both capable and flexible.

He rarely plays on defence for the Bison but can do so. He rarely scores points but was able to be of use creating space for Karpov and others. Sheppard notes his physical style which is what is needed from Lackey. He’s scored points at lower levels but here, the demands on his time and game are different. Never afraid to mix things up, Lackey will throw the hit and take one to make the play.

Whilst he will more than likely be the Bison’s spare forward, I’ve labelled Lackey as a utility player above and I think that’s accurate. Then again, Lackey is symptomatic of a large amount of the Bison roster; guys who can play different roles at different times supporting those who are signed to play a particular role. I don’t think we see Dan Lackey scoring 60 points and playing week in, week out to set up Rene Jarolin. If he gets 10 points, I think most of us would be happy with it. What I think Sheppard wants is for Lackey to just play because the benefits will come whatever he does.

Welcome back, Dan.

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