The BOTW Player of the Year 2016/17

Following our usual rigorous nomination process which yielded six candidates, the expert panel held their yearly meeting to weigh up those nominated and a decision has been reached. For the 5th time in its history and as BOTW celebrates its 6th birthday we have a winner for the most drinkable prize in sports, the “Edjis Brahmanis Trophy”.

Banners On The Wall Player of the Year 2016/17: #47 Dan Davies

(c) 5 Hole Photography

British forward Davies becomes the 5th player to win this blog’s player of the year and the third British player in succession following wins for Kurt Reynolds and Aaron Connolly. A capture during last summer from Telford, 27 year old Davies was added to the roster to help mount a defence of the EPL title. Whilst the Bison could not retain the league championship, Davies has become a popular player amongst the fanbase for his excellent two way play and industrious nature on the ice.

Award judge and Bison superfan Nigel Simmonds said that Davies “goes about his business without much fuss & for some reason goes under the man of the match award most weekends. Seriously doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. A very important cog in this teams wheel.”

Fellow judge and Bison off ice official Hannah Driver characterised Davies by calling him “a good all rounder that is often overlooked” though hopefully this accolade puts pay to that. Davies also received the most nominations from the public.

Other nominees:

#19 Vanya Antonov

One of the most talked about signings of the summer when he joined the Herd from Bracknell, the Russo-British forward was talked about by fans for all the right reasons on the ice with his excellent skating and great puck control. Award judge and club photographer Grant King commented that Vanya “has really upped his game since joining us his puck control is beyond his years. I think if we can retain his services next season we could see another jump in his evolution as a player.”

#53 Tomas Hiadlovsky

Award judge Jamie Walker felt that the Slovak netminder has been “solid all season long for the team who conceded the least amount of goals, says it all right there” when asked for comment. Hiadlovsky has taken some criticism for his puck playing style (a style that I personally love) but Hiadlovsky finished the regular season with a .915 save percentage and a 2.20 goals against average which is the best of any keeper to play more than 20 games.

#35 Rene Jarolin

Whilst he’s one of the team’s elder statesmen in terms of age, Jarolin arguably still has better vision and hands than players than anyone else in the team. A seemingly effortless skater Jarolin, who neglected to score with his face so far this season, has continued to be one of the better import centres in the league with a habit of scoring at moments when it seems almost impossible to do so.

#89 Ciaran Long

For me”, said Jamie Walker, “(Long) has been the most consistent player night in and night out right from the start. This guy sees the game as well as any import I think I’ve seen skate in Basingstoke, scores big goals, makes big plays, tracks back, steps back into D when asked to without question”. I don’t think there’s much more to add.

There was one more nominee. Whilst the BOTW Player of the Year is Bison specific, anyone can nominate and a few people decided to have a little joke. Here at BOTW, we’re able to laugh at ourselves a bit so this nominee got an award all their own;

The Mike Olynyk Award for “services to having a go”

#81 Jakub Barton

Jakub Barton was sadly just the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brought in after Miroslav Vantroba announced his intention not to return, Barton never really settled into the Bison line up and was quickly released after 5 games. After leaving Basingstoke, Barton signed for French 2nd tier side Dunkerque in November 2016 and scored 6 points as he helped Les Corsaires stave off relegation.

A massive thank you must go once again to Hannah Driver, Grant King, Nigel Simmonds and Jamie Walker for being part of the judging panel once again as well as a thank you to everyone who nominated their favourite player. Congratulations go to Dan who we will endeavour to get the trophy to this weekend after the final home game of the season against Milton Keynes.

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