Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard's weekly column

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard. Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard.

FOR us, the play-offs are the climax of the season.

It all comes down to two single games in Coventry in front of hockey fans from all the clubs in the league.

Winning that final game gave us all so much pleasure and pride.

Now, we can all look back on a season of real achievement, enjoy our summer break, and look forward to building on our success come September.

What we won’t do is forget how we managed to win two competitions and come second in the third. It has been a magnificent team effort, on and off the ice.

This has been a special group of players, who have grown together throughout the season.

The puck hasn’t always bounced kindly but they have never stopped playing for each other and battling to find a way to win.

Success on the ice has been matched by success off it.

All the players are aware of the history of the club and how loyally the team has been supported through some lean years.

We hope two trophies in our anniversary year will be seen by the fans as a thank-you from the players.

Attendances have increased throughout the season.

A team of volunteers has supported the players in many different ways.

Our sponsors know they are associated with a winning brand and that a ticket to attend ice hockey is the hottest ticket in Basingstoke.

It was fitting that our opponents in the final were Manchester.

We’d each won three games against each other during the regular season, and finished first and second in the league.

Winning the double against them was especially satisfying.

Have a great summer.

All the best,

Doug

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