BASINGSTOKE Bison head coach Doug Sheppard is looking to put the best team possible on the ice for the Herd’s first ever season in the National Ice Hockey League South One.

The Bison were accepted into South One after the demise of the English Premier League and Sheppard said: “I am very excited about the new season and what it will hold for us.

"We are playing a lot of new teams and my main aim is to keep out excellent Brit pack and to put a side on the ice for our fans which is both entertaining and skilful.”

This season South One has been split into two conferences.

The Herd will compete in Conference A, along with fellow former EPL side the Bracknell Bees along with the newly promoted Cardiff Fire, Milton Keynes Thunder, Oxford City Stars and Solent Devils.

Conference B is made up of the Chelmsford Chieftains, Invicta Dynamos, London Raiders, Peterborough Phantoms, Streatham and Swindon Wildcats.

The format of the league campaign will see teams play others in the own conference twice home and away, and teams in the other conference once home and once away.

There will also be an South Cup this season which is split into two qualifying groups.

Group A is made up of Chelmsford, Invicta, Streatham and London.

Group B will see the Herd take on Bracknell, Swindon and Peterborough.

The initial stages of the cup will have one home and one away against the others in their own group.

South Two reverts to a single division of 13 teams for this season, playing one game home and one away.

This will see the Basingstoke Buffalo joined by the Bristol Pitbulls, Bracknell Hornets, Cardiff Fire 2, Chelmsford Warriors, Guildford Phoenix, Haringey, Invicta Mustangs, Lee Valley Lions, Oxford 2, Peterborough Phantoms 2, Slough Jets and Swindon Wildcats 2.

The National Ice Hockey League season will begin on weekend of September 2 and 3 and is scheduled to end on the weekend of April 7 and 8.