BASINGSTOKE, UK – The Bison have completed their roster for their forthcoming EPL campaign with signing of netminder Dean Skinns, forwards import Tomas Karpov and Brit Tim Burrows.
Basingstoke-born Skinns is no stranger to the Herd having already made 248 league appearances for the club having made his debut as 16-year-old, when starter Stephen Foster was sick during a game.
Despite all his time at the club, this season will be his first as the true starting goalie a challenge the 28-year-old is looking forward to.
He arrives back in town after 18 months playing for the Swindon Wildcats and replaces Stevie Lyle, who ironically went in the opposite direction during the summer.
In an even more strange twist of fate the pair will face each other straight off the bat, when the Bison entertain the Wildcats in their EPL opener.
The additions of Skinns means the Bison now have six Basingstoke-born players in their team which is a new club record.
“For me Dean had an outstanding year in Swindon and having shut us out in our own building is a player I feel can do a job for us night in and night out,” said Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard.
“I am really looking forward to being the starting goalie and I feel the more games I play the better I get. I want to win trophies for my hometown team and with his team I feel that is not beyond us,” said Skinns.
Completed what looks like a very high powered offence the Bison made a double swoop on EPL rivals Telford Tigers to sign Karpov and Burrows.
Karpov hails from Benesov in the Czech Republic and proved a hit in his first spell in Britain having arrived in Shropshire just after Christmas.
He ended up posting an impressive 38 points from 23 games and linked up really well with Burrows hence why Bison boss Sheppard signed the pair.
Before coming to Britain, 24-year-old Karpov played most of his career in his homeland
except for two years in the WHL with Moose Jaw Warriors and Calgary Hitmen, where he scored 44 points from 133 games.
Burrows was born Germany, but grew-up in Telford, before moving to Cardiff where he played in the Elite League for the Devils.
Last year, he returned to the Tigers and scored 21 goals out of 41 points and is another excellent addition to the team.
“I think Tomas and Tim give us the ability to play three well balanced lines which was what my aim was when I started my recruitment at the start of the summer,” said Sheppard.
The Herd will play two exhibition games home and away against league champions Guildford Flames on the weekend of September 7 and 8.
A week later, they start their league campaign with the Swindon and in their 25th anniversary season will be hoping to go one better than last year and take their first league crown since 1994.