The off-ice report

Monday, 31st July 2006

It's been a busy week in the Basingstoke Bison office, with three new signings announced in the past seven days.  The Bison have filled the hole between the pipes left by the departing player-coach Mark Bernard with the signing of Nick Boucher as the number one netminder.  Boucher iced last season with the Elmira Jackals and the Muskegon Fury, as well as icing previously with WBS Penguins, the Pittsburgh feeder team.  "I am ecstatic to have my first chance overseas with the Bison," says Boucher. "I have heard good things about the town and the club.  This is my first season outside North America and I hope it to be my best yet."  Bison Head Coach Doug Sheppard is happy with the signing, saying "I am thrilled to be bringing in a goalie of Nick's calibre.  Nick is going to be a difference maker for us this year.  Reports on Nick suggest he is a fierce competitor and will do whatever it takes to win, and that is the exact attitude we need to drive the club forward."

The Bison have also unveiled new forward Kevin Bergin, signing the Canadian from Florida Everblades in the ECHL where he tallied 62 points and 70 penalty minutes from 65 games.  Coach Sheppard says "I am very excited Kevin will become a Bison this year.  With a number of teams in the EIHL after his services, I'm thrilled he decided to join the Basingstoke Bison.  Kevin is a tremendous all round player, with a great knack around the net.  He's a big physical kid and will be an instant fan favourite."

Also joining The Herd down in Basingstoke is former Sheffield Steelers and Sheffield Scimitars forward Greg Wood, who iced for Basingstoke previously in the 2004-2005 season.  "I am very pleased I have got a chance in Basingstoke to prove my worth once again," says Wood. "I hope I can help Basingstoke to the higher placing in the league the team deserve as I'm a bigger and stronger player than during my last stay in Basingstoke."

The Bison will reportedly be without the services of blueliner Jerry Galway, who has signed for German team ES WeiƟwasser.

Hull Stingrays have confirmed the signing of Ukranian defenceman Nikolay Ladygin, taking him from Crystall Saratov in the Russian League.  Team owner Mike Pack is looking forward to seeing Ladygin take to the ice, saying "I think that Nikolay will fit in well with the Stingrays.  He has good size and skill level and has experienced a number of different styles in his career.  He is still young and is keen to continue to develop his career with the Stingrays."

Coventry Blaze have beefed up their blueline with the signing of former Quad City Mallards defenceman Samy Nasreddine.  Blaze Coach Paul Thompson sees the new signing as a defensive defenceman, saying "Samy takes pride in his defence first.  He doesn't make mistakes, bad plays or get caught out of position.  He isn't going to stand out but he will be very secure in what he does, he is a cool and calm player who isn't going to get intimidated."

Newcastle Vipers have announced the signing of former London Racers defenceman Jason Robinson, taking him from Elite League rivals Sheffield Steelers with whom he finished last season following the withdrawal of the Racers from competition.   Robinson has iced for the Vipers previously, as a part of the 2003 squad in the BNL.  Vipers Coach Rob Wilson is pleased with the signing, saying "Jason is a big, physical defenceman,  That was perhaps something we missed last season.  He will move opposing forwards from the front of our net and make it easier for Curtis Cruickshank to see the puck and make the saves."

Edinburgh Capitals have announced the signing of forward Gregor Slak, taking the Slovenian from Olimpija Ljubljana.  At 6'5" and 196 pounds, the 23 year old racked up 32 points in 25 games, and has previously iced for Team Slovenia in the World Junior Championships.

by Richard Allan