Building the Herd – Dan Davies

#47 Dan Davies

Position: Forward

Born: London, England

Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 18th May

Dan Davies (left) had a productive first season in Basingstoke and has signed on for another campaign.
(c) 5 Hole Photography

Banners On The Wall took a break over the previous weekend. Some family stuff combined with the fact that the NIHL South 1 lost its marbles again led us to take a step back and wait to see if anything happened before progressing. As it seems that stuff has gone quiet, we’re in a position to properly welcome Dan Davies back to the Herd.

Soon to be 28, Davies capped an impressive first season in Basingstoke by being named the 2016/17 BOTW player of the year. Generally used as a centre for the duration of the campaign, Davies tallied 10 goals and 39 points in 50 games whilst adding 4 assists in the Bison’s 7 playoff encounters.

Davies began his hockey in London with Haringey. The London senior side were known as the Greyhounds so Davies played for the fantastically named Haringey Whippets in the under 16s leagues before moving across to Slough for the later part of his underage hockey career.

The stats then throw up something of an anomaly for Davies as no numbers exist for him on Elite Prospects between the end of 2004/05 and the 2008/09 season when he suddenly reappeared in Bracknell, splitting time between the Bees in the EPL and the Hornets in the then ENL. 25 EPL games yielded 5 goals and 8 points but his ENL numbers of 50 points in 26 games were impressive enough for Slough to come calling.

Davies moved back to The Hanger in 2009 and former junior Jet would spend 4 and a half years at the Hanger to great success as his time in Berkshire would yield 2 EPL playoff titles and one EPL cup. 240 regular season games with the Jets saw Davies chart an impressive 241 points.

The 2013/14 season has been discussed at great length on BOTW for the many player movements that happened at Slough. Davies, who was an alternate captain for the Jets at one stage during the season, was another player who moved north to join the new order in Telford, leaving just after the halfway point of the season in mid-December.

Davies and the Tigers pressed on from 2013/14 into the 2014/15 season and dominated the EPIHL, winning the league and cup at a canter before coming unstuck in the playoff semi-final against Peterborough. In the double winning season, Davies had 17 goals and 36 points in 48 games.

The 2015/16 season was something of a contrast as the Tigers faltered. Davies also had injury issues, icing in just 37 games but still managing 27 points from the season. After an empty handed season in Telford, Davies decided to return to the south and joined up with coach Doug Sheppard.

Did you know that Dan Davies got 39 points last season? I didn’t remember till I sat down and looked at the stats for him. In some ways because he falls into that archetype of “hard working hockey player”, I sometimes wonder if Dan Davies gets lost in the shuffle. It wasn’t intentional but with a family visit this weekend and the rest of the league going mad around us, even his welcome back piece got pushed slightly to one side.

However someone somewhere clearly notices his efforts. The setup for the BOTW player of the season is such that I don’t just pick my favourite player with my biases that I have on hockey players. It’s why there is a fans nominating process then I get the panel together to pick from those; to try and take out a chunk of my own influence as to who deserves the recognition and that we give a fair, well rounded result. Despite arguably not being the highest scorer or the biggest hitter or the flashiest or the fastest, Davies got the most fan nominations then the majority of 1st votes in our panel vote.

Dan Davies is a package player. He’s one of those players that Doug Sheppard likes who is able to do a bit of everything. Superb passing, a really good two way game combined with being able to both grind and score, it’s the work ethic of Davies that got the appreciation of fans wherever he’s played. Where we praised Joe Rand for not taking a shift off, we need to attribute the same quality to Davies who has played up and down the lines in the space of a season as well as taking significant first powerplay and penalty kill time in the process.

The problem is that we genuinely now don’t know what’s happening. Davies and Antonov were not paired together last year though you venture that they’ll both be on the top two lines between them with Davies maintaining his role in the centre. They’re the only two forwards and the new league format lasted a grand total of 2 weeks. Even the PIHL as a concept lasted longer than that.

Irrespective of that, we know what we’re getting from Dan Davies which is effort, energy and some decent execution. If Ciaran Long returns then I expect Davies to play alongside him but if Long is heading elsewhere then what Davies needs is that natural scorer for him to put the puck onto the stick of. Give him a Rene Jarolin style player that clicks with Davies and points will follow.

Welcome back, Dan. You are allowed to drink the beer…I mean, trophy.

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