DOUG Sheppard will once again be the man at the helm of the Basingstoke Bison for next season after he signed a multi-year deal with the club.

The Canadian, who secured the Herd’s first trophy in 14 years this season, is returning in a role of director of hockey and player/coach with a rolling contract, which will see him as part of the Herd set-up for many years to come.

He has been in charge for the past two seasons guiding the Bison to second spot in the English Premier League on both occasions.

This is his second spell at the club as player/coach, in his first time at the club they recorded their best-ever finish in the Elite League.

The return of Sheppard as player/coach is a great start for next season as they look to hunt down their first league title since 1993.

However, before next season there is the little matter of this season’s play-offs and Sheppard will be hoping to take his side to the finals weekend in Coventry for the second year running, with victory tonight over the Sheffield Steeldogs.

Planet Ice Managing Director John Neville said: “The Bison have had two great years with Doug in charge and I am delighted he will spearhead the club next season.

“The club is now really going forward and having Doug in charge both on and off the ice in coming years means the future looks very bright.”

Sheppard is delighted to be leading the Herd for a third year in the EPL and said: I'm really happy to be committing my future to the Bison. John and I have a great relationship and we will continue to take things forward.

“The fans, as ever, have been brilliant all year, creating a wonderful atmosphere to play in front, giving me plenty of added reasons to return on this multi-year deal."

He added: “I started my career in Basingstoke and I’d like to end it here too. I am looking forward to be being involved for many years to come.”