THE Basingstoke Bison have made their first new signing for the forthcoming season – and it is good one, Aaron Connolly joining the Herd from the Slough Jets.
Bison boss Doug Sheppard has raided his old club to pick up the highly talented teenage forward.
The 19-year-old has played for the Berkshire side in the English Premier League for the past three seasons, scoring 30 goals.
This included a hat-trick against the Herd when he visited in March last year, which was part of a five point haul on the night.
It was the best ever individual tally for a visiting player in the four years the Bison have been in the English Premier League.
Last season Connolly was also Great Britain under-20 captain and he scored twice for the national side in the World Championships earlier this year.
The Northfleet-born forward started his career with Gillingham-based Invicta Dynamos, making his debut for the senior team at just 13.
A change in the rules for young players saw Connolly unable to play senior hockey again until 16, when he joined the Chelmsford Chieftains in the English National League – and he enjoyed two 20-plus goal seasons there.
He then joined Slough at 17 on a two-way deal from the Chieftains and a year later was part of the Jets play-off winning team, which included Joe Greener, Zach Sullivan and Sheppard.
Bison player/coach Sheppard is delighted to have signed the exciting young forward and said: “I tried to sign Aaron last season, so I am really pleased to have got him this year.
“He has great leadership qualities and a really good work ethic and I feel he can score us 20 goals this season.”
Connolly said: “Last year was not the best for me as I missed over two months with a shoulder injury, but I am fine now.
“I’m raring to go and want to win some more trophies.
“Being Great Britain captain was probably the high spot of my career so far and I can still remember scoring a hat-trick against the Bison.
“I was on a line with Doug Sheppard and Joe Greener that night. It was the best moment in the EPL for me so far.”