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Boss herds-up familiar trio
THE BASINGSTOKE Bison have added three more players to their growing line-up - returning British trio Dan Green, Luke Reynolds and Scott Spearing.
The Bison line-up has been boosted with the return of netminder Dan Green
All three played for the Hampshire side last season - Green and Reynolds on a full-time basis, while Spearing was on a two-way deal from English Premier League side Bracknell Bees.
Netminder Green moved to Bracknell last term to take the back-up goalie role on the team and did not disappoint when called upon. In the process, he picked up three man-of-the-match awards during last season for the Bison.
The 23-year-old ended the season by being named the coach's player of the year by fellow netminder Mark Bernard.
New Bison boss Doug Sheppard said: "I am really pleased to have Dan back as he is a player who gives his all both in practice and in games. He is a fine example to all his other team-mates."
The British goalie is currently in Canada, attending hockey schools, and said: "It was an easy decision for me to sign again for Basingstoke with Doug (Sheppard) in charge and I will look forward to a new goalie partner.
"Last year was hard, having three import netminders, and I really learned a lot off Mark Bernard in the late half of season, which can only help me this time around."
For defenceman Reynolds, another year in a Bison uniform is great reward for all the progress the young Brit showed in his first-ever season in the Elite League last season. His ice time was limited, but he still managed to pick up his first performance point with an assist in a league game at Coventry.
Sheppard is more than happy to have Reynolds back in his defence for another season, and said: "Luke is a great guy with a great attitude, who wants to learn and improve as a player."
Talking from his London home, Reynolds said: "I am really excited about coming back to Basingstoke as I feel I am twice the player now than I was this time last year.
"For sure I made some mistakes last season, but I have learned from them and am really looking forward to being coached by defenceman Duncan (Dalmao), the new Bison assistant coach."
The 20-year-old added: "The guys returning to Basingstoke were all good to me and tried to set me up with a goal in the final play-off game, which is something that never happened when I was at Bracknell."
British forward Spearing made an immediate impact for the Bison last season when called up from the Bees, as he scored on his debut in Coventry.
So it was not surprising the new Bison player/coach and fellow forward Sheppard wanted to see more of him this campaign.
Sheppard said: "He is a young player who uses his skills to the best of his ability and will be a useful addition to the club."
A delighted Spearing said: "I thought I was going back to Bracknell, but when I got the call from Doug I was more than happy to sign for the Bison.
"Scoring in Coventry last season was the best moment of my career to date, as it was my first shift, and I will be looking to score a few more times this season."
The former Basingstoke junior player added: "I would describe myself as a hard-working player, and a good season in the Elite League could help me be picked for Great Britain in the summer."