What is Banners On The Wall?
“Banners On The Wall” is a blog about Basingstoke Bison ice hockey as well as the English Premier Ice Hockey League and the sport in general in this country. It is mainly opinions about the key issues affecting the sport in this country and whatever’s happening with regards to the Stampede.
What’s the origin of the name?
The name “Banners On The Wall” is an attempt to have a name attached to the blog that is something fundamentally Bison related without being cheesy. Whilst names relating to words like “stampede” and “herd” and “bison” are all obvious, I didn’t find anything I liked.
The name comes from the fact that due to the low roof at the Basingstoke Arena, any banners for trophies and retired numbers are all hung from hockey sticks on the wall of the rink behind one of the goals. To an extent that’s the goal of Bison hockey; win trophies and put banners on the wall.
So what makes you qualified to write about hockey?
I’m about as qualified as the next person really. Writing and ice hockey are 2 of my hobbies and I wanted to write more. The British hockey blogging world is steadily growing but there’s not much there when it comes to the Bison in terms of focus outside of Graham Merry’s articles for the Basingstoke Gazette. Graham has covered this team for years and his reporting is brilliant but there’s little “comment” pieces flying about and as I want to flex my writing muscles a bit more I figured “why not me?” as I want to do it. That was March 2011 so make your own decisions as to how far we’ve come.
So have you written about hockey before?
On and off I have. For a while I wrote a feature in the programme about the visiting teams as well as the odd bit here and there. I generally do a slightly comedic review of hockey in the south for the UK Forum All Stars weekend programme (www.ukfallstars.co.uk), a hockey forums based charity event, which is always fun. I used to do a column called “From the dark side of the EPL” for Ignite Magazine which is published by Coventry Blaze. My editors there were great and let me say what I wanted providing it wasn’t libellous. I once labelled an EPL “enforcer” a pantomime cow. I stopped writing for Ignite at the end of 2010/11 when the owners of the Blaze wanted to change the direction the magazine took. In the summer of 2011, I joined the team of Pucks Across the Pond which covered the NHL and all leagues. PATP sort of fell away sadly when the runners of the site had to deal with a case of real life. I do now occasionally write for the Australian Ice Hockey League’s website. Yes, the Aussies have ice hockey. BOTW has now been around for 3 years and has a decent reputation so that’s my focus for the time being but I’m generally open to offers to write for other places if I have the time.
Are you connected with the team?
Officially no, this blog certainly isn’t. I do a few bits for the team on a volunteer basis; for example I set up the Bison group on Facebook a couple of years ago for a dare and now it’s the official one which sends out game invites, has brief recaps and Bavy sends out inspirational messages as and when needed. I also do home game match night updates on the Bison twitter account (@BisonHockey).
So if you’re connected to the team, will you only talk about the good things?
No, not in the slightest. I am not an employee of Planet Ice or the Bison, as I tell people I’m an “articulate loudmouth”. If the organisation does something I don’t agree with or the team isn’t performing on the ice then I’ll say it. The issue is making complaints in an appropriate way. I’m lucky to the extent that I know some of Bison management and they are (despite what some may say/think) reasonable people. My conversations with them are respectful and reasonable and whilst we don’t always agree on things, nothing so far has been held against anyone and we get about doing the important thing which is enjoying the hockey.
That said I am a very blunt person and occasionally may be a little overly zealous in what I say. If you have a problem with anything said then let me know, we’ll talk it over and sort it out.
What you have written is obviously rubbish, how do I have my say?
You sure do; leave a comment or, if you are so inclined, write a detailed response. If it’s not a swear filled, text speak laden rant I might even put it on the blog!
You’re biased against my team/favourite player!
Possibly, I’m human after all and I have my likes and dislikes. The Bison also have their rivals and there’s nothing wrong with friendly banter. If you think I’ve overstepped the mark, get in contact and I’ll apologise however I am entitled to an opinion and it may differ to yours. Just bare that in mind before you order me shot at dawn.
I’ve written something, can I post it here?
Depends; as above if it’s well written and not just a directionless swear word filled rant then I’ll certainly consider it. Ultimately if you enjoy the writing, by all means start your own blog too! BOTW is by no means an attempt to monopolise the market and the more people spreading the word about hockey in Britain the better.
Anything else I need to know?
Yes, the official Bison website can be found at www.bstokebison.co.uk and most answers about questions relating to the club will be found there.
Apart from that, respect each other’s feelings in comments and LET’S GO BISON!