Building the Herd – Richard Bordowski

#8 Richard Bordowski

Position: Forward

Born: Třinec, Moravskoslezský kraj, Czechia

Announced as signed: Bison website 1st May

Richard Bordowski will be returning to Basingstoke to join the Bison’s adventure into the NIHL National League.
(c) 5 Hole Photography

With other some local National League clubs making big announcements and the MK Lightning racing ahead of others to announce big names, the Bison decided to dip their toe into the pool of announcements. With both netminders already secured for the upcoming campaign, Bison coach Ashley Tait decided to fire his own shot across the bow of the opposition by confirming the return of Czech import forward Richard Bordowski.

Bordowksi, who turns 37 in June, came to Britain after a prolific career in his homeland then preceded his time in Basingstoke with 8 years in Poland where he had two silver medals, two bronze medals and a Polish Cup winners medal with KH GKS Jastrzebie from whom he joined the Herd.

Bordowski put in an impressive first season with the Bison, tallying 58 points in 39 league and cup games as well as 7 points in the playoffs. Forming a good partnership with Russ Cowley, Bordowski was able to play a mix of high skill as well as traditional power forward roll where he regularly mixed high quality passing and shooting with trademark dashes to the net. Whilst injury marred the end of his regular season, Bordowski played a massive part in helping the Bison reach the Southern Cup final as well as the playoff semi finals. His season will likely be best remembered for his 4 goal effort that saw the Bison come fro 5-1 down to win 6-5 over Romford in overtime in November 2018.

When the Bison made the predicted jump from NIHL 1 South to a newly devised NIHL National League the usual discussion about roster moves became all the more prescient. One thing I did not think would seriously stick around was the notion of two imports in a new national league. I have to confess to still being slightly sceptical that this idea makes it to the start line but it did immediately throw up a question of whether, if any, of the Herd’s two imports would make the return for this new venture. We obviously don’t know about Klejna but we’re now fully in the know that Bordowski will be back.

Whilst I am surprised to a point, I think this is a positive move for the Bison. Some will question the age and some will obviously be concerned given the games missed due to injury last season but it’s a calculable risk for Ashley Tait to take given the return that we’ve seen that Bordowski is capable of.

People will look back to that Romford game and it’s easy to use an extreme example and over use it to try to make it prove the point. However it did encapsulate a lot about what Bordowksi offers as a player across the season in a short space of time. Teams need skill, teams need grit, teams need players that can do all three. The Bison had guys who could do a bit of everything but what they needed at times was a player that could put the team or the game or both on their back and just carry the team when it needed it. Tait and Klejna were more guys for moments of brilliance, Cowley could do it but he’s understandably left, Bordowksi returning is therefore massive for the Herd in terms of a known commodity on the roster than can split a game or when the team needs to be dragged kicking and screaming back into it.

The question of course now arises for Tait of who plays with Bordowski. The other recent returnee in George Norcliffe becomes an obvious person to mention (and more on Norcliffe to come) though I do wonder if that’s a knee jerk reaction. If you have Bordowski, who’s a better winger than a centre, and Norcliffe who is 100% a winger not a centre, both driving the net are we playing a dual threat game to give space to the centre or overcommitting going forward? It’s a delicate balance.

It’s also a complete hypothetical because at the moment the roster officially contains 3 forwards including Tait and given the amount of time that Tait and Bordowski played together wasn’t massive I don’t think we have our first line combination already set.

Part of me almost wanted the imports to be announced late to see how they would be slotted into the line up alongside all the other Brits but with the announcement of returnees elsewhere including the Malinik announcement at Bracknell as well as the rumour mill starting to turn you can forgive the Bison for doing it. It’s certainly proven to be a popular decision.

Welcome back, Bordo.

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