Tait rounds up the Herd for new season

Ashley Tait is back for a fourth season with Basingstoke Bison (PHOTO: Jo Loan)

Basingstoke Bison player-coach Ashley Tait said there was never a question of him being anywhere else as the club announced his commitment to the 2021/22 season.

Tait’s return is one that’s excited the fans, especially after the news the National League was in the planning stage of a new season following a Covid ravaged last 12 months.

And the former GB international revealed his players can’t wait to get back to work after such a long lay-off.

“Obviously it’s been a year like no other and I think along with everyone it’s been strange being away from the rink,” he said.

“I don’t think there was ever a question as to where I wanted to be and I’m excited to get back and start working with everybody that’s involved with the club.

“As much as 19-20 was cut short, I think we’ve shown good progression on and off the ice and hope to build on that accordingly. I’ve been in constant contact with the players and I know they can’t wait to get back to work.

“I’ve been involved with a lot of clubs in my career and we have a group of first-class people from the owner to staff, volunteers and our noisy passionate fans and it will certainly be good to get back to doing what we do best hopefully with full arenas and continue our quest silverware.”

Tait joined Bison in the summer of 2018 after a long career, primarily in the Elite League, where he won the title four times with Coventry Blaze and Sheffield Steelers.

Bison fans have really enjoyed the attacking high paced style of hockey he implemented whilst the club has been in his stewardship.

And John Neville, Basingstoke’s Operating Officer, welcomed Tait back to the club and insists he wanted the club to be ready to go once a new season was being planned.

“The last twelve months have been a strange period for the club but we were always prepping and ready for when the Herd could return to the ice,” he said.

Bison legend Tony Redmond is also back to assist Tait from the bench (PHOTO: Grant King)

“Plans and player recruitment have commenced in earnest for the forthcoming campaign and we really are excited for the future.”

Bison also announced the return of assistant coach Tony Redmond, who will continue to work alongside Tait as his eyes from the bench.

Tait revealed their relationship is based on having similar views and spoke of his trust in “Mr Basingstoke” as he welcomed him back.

“Tosh agreeing to return is a great news for the organisation and means we can continue from where we left off,” Tait said.

“Being a player coach means you need to trust the decisions being made behind the bench whilst on the ice.

“Tosh and myself have very similar views in many areas and that means I can concentrate on playing when necessary and know full well that Tosh will make the right decisions during games and practices.”

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