What is Banners On The Wall?

Banners On The Wall” is a blog about Basingstoke Bison ice hockey as well as the National 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. 

It’s also the home of The BOTW Podcast which is a podcast that focuses on British hockey with an NIHL focus. Whilst the NIHL is the base of the podcast, the philosophy of the podcast is that hockey has stories to tell wherever it is played.  The show has had guests from various leagues across 3 continents.

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. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pun but nothing really seemed to stick until the BOTW name came to mind.

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.

Why did you start doing this?

Writing and ice hockey are 2 of my hobbies and back when BOTW started I wanted to write more. The British hockey blogging world was steadily growing but there wasn’t much there when it came 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.

Where else have you written for?

All kinds of places from the Coventry Blaze magazine to the website of the Australian Ice Hockey League. If I have the time and you’re interested in having me write for you then drop me a line and we’ll see what can be done.

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. 

The thing we say to people is we’re not objective, we’re very much pro-the Bison, but we’re about fair and quality analysis of what goes on both on and off the ice.

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!


6 Comments on “About/FAQ”

  1. Hi Anthony
    I’m signing up as one of your followers. I already read your TWEETS which I find very useful as I write match reports and sometimes your comments confirm an aspect of a goal which I missed from Row F. By all means have a look at my blog – I try to make the reports as amusing and also full of cliches as I can – sometimes it’s difficult to find a funny aspect especially after the Slough game on Wednesday. Your comments would be appreciated.

  2. David Simms says:

    If you need a chat in reply to your thoughts, please feel free to contact me.

  3. Shirley says:

    Can I ask a question you might know the answer? Does the council closing the Basingstoke leisure centre and selling it off to a hotel chain affect the icerink?

    • Hi Shirley, depends what you mean by Basingstoke Leisure Centre.

      I don’t know about anything potentially happening with sports stuff at Festival Place.

      Leisure Park where the rink is, is in a state of flux because it’s due to be redeveloped and the rink redone as part of that. We’ll see what happens.

  4. Tony Critchley says:

    I admire your enthusiasm and passion for the sport. Writing reports after every game and doing the podcasts is I’m sure time consuming so kudos to you for all your efforts.

    I have tried on several occasions to listen to your podcasts. I manage about 10 minutes or so before a couple of things become a little too much for me to continue. If you could manage to handle these better, I would probably become a more frequent listener.
    – a) the dreaded “err”, “erm” and “errrrrrrmm” – these drive me up the wall and there are times when you mange to get 4 or 5 of them in the same sentence. One particular podcast had so many I didn’t make it past the first 5 minutes!
    – b) the length of the podcast. I looked at #70 and saw it’s a touch under 77 minutes !! I wouldn’t mind spending about half an hour on something like this, but that’s about my limit. I don’t have the concentration span to listen to the whole thing.
    The reason for tuning in to no. 70 was the promised South Play-Off preview. Well, I’ve listened to 18 minutes of the podcast and now I’ve given up. Your starting chat with Dave Carr covered a lot of what you covered in your own round-up of the division results.

    My suggestions would be to try and be a little more concise. Reduce the erm and errs and perhaps index the podcast so if there’s something someone particularly wants to listen to, they can go straight to that time mark.

    Keep up the good work though. What you’re doing is admirable, but not ‘up my street’, so to speak, at this time.


    • Hi Tony, thanks for commenting.

      The errs and umms are sadly a large part of my speech but I take your point with them. The problem I’ve had in the past was I’d try and script the show much more than I do and it sounded stilted and really unnatural, like I was doing some sort of weird Radio 4 play and that’s not the point of the show. I’ll work on it.

      I do disagree with you on the length of the show and content though. 77 mins is not too long for a podcast by any stretch and many of the ones I listen to personally are a lot longer than that. Most podcast players also remember where you were if you go away and come back. Nobody’s demanding you listen to it all in one go, or at least I won’t. Over an hour is long for what I do in a show though, it’s usually less than an hour but Carrsy and I are blabbermouths, ha ha.
      In terms of the content of this one, I got the guests’ views on the season and threw in some of my own views where the start of the show was more of a round up or at least that was the intention. For me, we’ve covered one topic from different perspectives and then moved on to the playoffs more in depth. That’s worked for the majority of feedback I’ve had on the episode so far.

      I certainly think my cutting out the errs and umms is valid and I’ll take that on board but a chance of style and length isn’t something I think is warranted at this time when that seems to go down well with the listenership. If it’s not for you, that’s absolutely fine and thanks for at least taking the time to listen in the first place.

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