THE Basingstoke Bison defence for the forthcoming season has been completed with the signing of Great Britain under-20 international Declan Balmer.

The 19-year-old from Hull joins the Herd from English Premier League rivals Peterborough Phantoms, where last season he played 50 games and picked up seven assists.

Two of these were against the Bison, the first coming in an overtime win for the Herd in Peterborough. He then registered an assist on the third goal as the Phantoms took an early 3-0 lead at the Basingstoke Arena, before the home side staged a great comeback to win 5-4.

The season before, Balmer was part of the Solway Sharks side who won the National Hockey League North One title.

Standing at 6ft 2in, hard-hitting Balmer is going to be a great addition in the back division as he is one of the top young defenceman in the country.

Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard said: “He really caught my eye when he played against us for Peterborough last season. He is a big guy who plays with an edge and is only going to improve.

“Declan and Grant Rounding were the two players on my list for the summer, so I am very pleased to have signed them.”

New signing Balmer said: “I am really looking forward to coming to Basingstoke, as they impressed me a lot when I played against them last season.”

The Bison’s latest addition joins already signed Miroslav Vantroba, Kurt Reynolds, Joe Baird, Matt Selby and Brendan Baird in a six-man defensive unit.

Sheppard said: “I am very pleased with our defence, along with netminder Dean Skinns.

“We have a good blend of experience and young guys. We have the physical toughness as well as guys who are able to make the first pass out of defence.”