Building the Herd – Grant RoundingPosted: 15/06/2017
#17 Grant Rounding
Born: Johannesburg, South Africa
Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 15th June
With the start of the Bison’s first season coming ever closer, coach Doug Sheppard has continued to add meat to the bones of the Bison roster by announcing that British/South African forward Grant Rounding will return for his 4th consecutive season in the Herd’s colours.
26 year old Rounding had his best season points wise for the Bison in 2016/17 as he tallied 5 goals and 11 points across the campaign from the third and fourth line. Rounding, who has been massively unfortunate with injuries, also managed to complete a full campaign with the Herd.
The former Bison junior moved from Basingstoke to Bracknell for his junior hockey and played the majority of his under 16s hockey with the Stingers before making his senior hockey debit with the Bracknell Hornets in 2006/07 whilst playing with the under 18 Drones. Rounding’s time with the Hornets ended in 2007/08 when he scored 22 goals and 41 points in 18 games as well as scoring 8 points in 11 league and cup games with the Hornets.
Rounding then became a Hornets mainstay for the next few seasons in the ENL playing 63 times across the next few seasons where he scored 59 points as the Hornets picked up the 2010 ENL South title. Rounding also made his EPL debut with the Bees scoring 2 points in 20 games.
The next season saw what started as a productive campaign with the Isle of Wight Raiders as Rounding went a point per game on the island before a broken leg ended the season after just 16 games. Rounding returned home to rehab the injury and returned in 2012 with the Hornets before moving to the Bees full time for the rest of the 2012/13 season where the scored 9 points in 49 games.
2013 saw Rounding sign on for his first full season with the Bees and an impressive 19 points in 52 games caught the attention of Doug Sheppard who lured Rounding back to Basingstoke after the Bison had won the double.
Grant’s totals with the Bison stand at 33 points from 117 league, cup and playoff games for the Herd which includes being part of the 2016 league title winning side.
On his re-signing last season, we wondered what we would see out of Grant Rounding. Having taken two seasons to play just under one season’s worth of games, the hope that Grant would be able to go through a season without serious injury and that we’d see the most of Grant Rounding.
We certainly got one of these. The fact that Rounding made it through the season with minimal time missed is an achievement in itself. Hockey is a short enough career without losing time to major leg injuries. There was a major point of wonder that Rounding wouldn’t have maintained the speed that he had before the injuries but he remained arguably the fastest skater on the team for straight line speed.
Whether we saw the most of the most of Grant Rounding is a bigger question. The piece in the Gazette mentions that he had limited ice time during the season which is entirely fair. The move to 5 imports meant that the bottom 6 were always going to be squeezed a bit for ice time and on the occasions where Rounding found himself on the fourth line, it meant that he got very few chances to do much at all.
When he did get on the ice, it was something of a mixed bag for the South African. He played frequently on a line with Tomas Karpov but the combination didn’t have the same success as the Czech’s partnership with Alan Lack. Then again, it’s massively unfair to expect Grant Rounding to be the same as Alan Lack. They have massively different styles. However for whatever reason, Karpov would set the table and Rounding just couldn’t finish. He seemed massively snake bitten at times and the puck would just miss his stick or go an inch the wrong side of the post of trickle across the crease. They seemed to have a decent enough understanding of where the other would be but just couldn’t get the crucial last touch.
That being said 11 points in a season where he didn’t get tons of ice time is still a good return and, as he rightly points out in the Gazette, he’s going to have a lot more to do this season.
The drop from five imports down to two means that the guys who were on the fringes will have more time and more responsibility. It also throws up a question as to how many lines that Doug Sheppard will choose to run though I believe if the option is there there he will run four and Rounding shifts between the third and second lines depending on the situation and form. With one import allowed on the ice at a time, that’s 4 British skaters on the ice and that gives Rounding the opportunity to get that increased ice time and to hopefully get into that groove of regular scoring. Rounding has said that he wants to get to a point a game and this season and all its changes should provide the best opportunity in recent times for him to do that.
There are currently 6 forwards announced as being on the roster at the moment so it remains to be seen just where Rounding will fit into the lines. Do they retry him with Karpov and hope that the connection yields better returns or try him elsewhere? What Doug Sheppard will do is know where Rounding’s best asset, his speed, will be of most use to the roster. We know he’s going to be a lead forechecker on the roster and see a lot of penalty kill time as a result but just who he does that with is going to remain unanswered, at least for now though hopefully they find a way to keep up with him.
Welcome back, Grant.