Building the Herd – Sam BrooksPosted: 05/10/2017
#?? Samuel Brooks
Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire
Announced as signed: Two-way contract with Buffalo confirmed Bison website, 3rd October
The second of the Bison’s two part announcement was the news that the Bison had formalised Sam Brooks’ involvement with the club. Having guested in games since the start of the season, the Bison under 18’s alternate captain has been moved onto a formal two-way contract with the Bison and Buffalo following some impressive early season performances which included his first Bison point on Tomas Karpov’s goal in Bracknell in September.
Brooks started his junior hockey career in Guildford eventually making his way to the under 16 Firestars where he spent parts of 3 seasons. The Guildford youth system, known for its quality and depth was a good place for Brooks who whilst not a massive point scorer in junior hockey made an impression in an impressive Firestars team. Brooks scored 13 points in 32 games and was part of the league winning side of 2014/15 alongside now Bison under 18s captain Cameron Buckle and Invicta Dynamos defenceman George Hoang.
In the summer of 2015, Brooks decided to continue his junior development in Basingstoke with the Bison and was immediately in the thick of things with both the under 18s and under 20s. 21 points in 18 games with the under 18s and 11 points in 13 games with the under 20s was a good foundation for the inevitable transition to senior hockey that would no doubt follow.
It came last season as Brooks appeared in 6 games for the Buffalo in NIHL 2 South where he registered 2 goals and 2 penalty minutes. Brooks also had productive seasons at under 18 and under 20 level, going over a point per game in both (26 points in 18 games for the under 18s, 17 points in 13 under 20 games) combined with 1 goal in the u18’s short playoff run.
Named an alternate captain for the under 18 Bison this season and with ice time for the Buffalo also pretty much a certainty, it seemed that Brooks was set for the season. However with Doug Sheppard wanting to get a look at players in pre-season and then the injury to Dan Davies, Coach Sheppard took a chance on Brooks who has now formally played himself onto the Bison roster. Along with his appearances for the Herd, he has 4 points in 3 games for the Buffalo at the time of writing.
Amongst all the head scratching with the removal of Dan Lackey from the Bison roster, the team’s physical edge or lack thereof and any perceived problems with consistency, this is a fantastic chance with a talented young player.
In some ways Sam Brooks has been in a “no lose situation” since he has been added to the roster. If he hadn’t been what Doug Sheppard wanted then he at least got the experience of training the bit of game time that he got. However he’s played well, raw at this level but well and well enough to earn a place on the roster for the remainder of the season.
At 17 years old, the key thing for Brooks is to go out and do what’s asked of him. He clearly has an eye for the pass and an eye for goal as well as not being scared to play alongside the Bison’s top end players when asked. The fans will hopefully show Brooks some patience as he learns and develops rather than demanding too much of him too soon. Generally Bison fans have been very good at supporting young players who find themselves in this position in recent years whether it be Wynn, Ingoldsby, Petts, Goddard or anyone else.
The Herd fans are generally good at getting behind the younger players and want them to do well. Doug Sheppard will not be as forgiving and if Brooks doesn’t perform to the standard required then he’ll spend more time in NIHL 2 and juniors until he is ready. Sam Brooks has a chance to start making a real mark in senior hockey. We naturally wish him all the best.