SUPER shot stopper Dean Skinns is back for another season with Basingstoke Bison after he re-signed this week, while defenceman Carl Graham has departed the Herd.
Basingstoke-born Skinns returned to his roots last season and was a key member of the Bison’s double winning side, setting a number of club records during the campaign.
This included the most shut-outs for a season – five – while he became the first goalie to play a complete campaign. He was in goal for more than 3,600 minutes and returned an impressive 90 per cent save rate.
He capped a fine returning season by winning the Players’ Player and the British Supporters Club Player of the Year awards.
Player/coach Doug Sheppard is really pleased about his latest returnee and said: “I think Dean had an outstanding year for us and gave us a chance to win many games during the season. I expect another big year from him.”
A delighted Skinns said: “It was no brainer for me as it is an absolute honour to play for my hometown team and I always dreamed of being the Bison’s starting goalie.
“I never demanded the ice time, but for me, playing every game keeps me sharp and we were fighting all season long for honours.”
The 29-year-old added: “If I had to pick a stand-out moment during the year, I think it would be winning the EPL Cup as it ended 14 years without a trophy. It was great to get that first trophy.”
With Skinns joining last week’s re-signing Kurt Reynolds and Sheppard himself, the Herd is already taking great shape for the forthcoming season.
One player not returning is defenceman Graham, who has spent the last two seasons with the Herd.
The gritty defender saw his ice time reduced at the end of last season after the signing of Matt Selby.
Having been part of the Herd side that lost in the EPL Cup final during his first spell with the Herd, it was nice for the 30-year-old from Reading to pick up two winners’ medals this season.
Sheppard said: “I would like to thank Carl for his time at the Bison and wish him well for the future.”