ASHLEY Tait has been named as the new Basingstoke Bison’s Director of Hockey as well as their player/coach.

The 42-year-old is one of the all time greats of the modern era of the game, having played at the top level for nearly of his career, mostly for the Nottingham Panthers, Coventry Blaze and Sheffield Steelers.

He has been part of an Elite League championship winning team three times, twice with Coventry and one with Sheffield and was also a play-off winner four times.

Last season, he played as injury cover for the Milton Keynes Lightning and Belfast Giants, taking his total of Elite League games to 795 in which he returned 699 points scoring 254 times.

Toronto-born Tait made his senior debut in 1990 with Nottingham, in what was the old Heineken Premier League.

He was voted the best British player in 2002/03 in the old British National League for Coventry and then the following year in the first season of the Elite League, also with the Blaze Then in 2010/11 took the accolade of being the Elite League’s British Player of the Year, in his first season in a Sheffield Steelers’ uniform He also played 115 times for Great Britain making him one of their most capped players for his country.

He is a former assistant player/coach at both Sheffield and Coventry in recent years, but this will be the first time he takes over the top job and is really looking to it.

Tait is now looking forward to the challenge of putting together what will be a new look Herd for the coming season.

This is because the majority of the last season’s treble winning team have retired or departed.

Tait said: “Having been an assistant coach before I am looking forward to being in charge and I am talking to number of players.

“It not a matter of just filling the roster and I looking for players who will gel as a unit.

“There is a big pool of players in the south and I have not seen a lot of hockey at this level, but have been taking to coaches and players who play at this level so now have a very good understanding of what is needed.

“My job as coach is to put together the pieces of the jigsaws and it is all about man management.”

Tait added: “I have played for some very good coaches and some bad ones as well in my career, which I have leant from.”

“It will be different being a player/coach and I looking forward to some exciting times for the Herd.”