The GalxC Cooling Services Basingstoke Bison are pleased to confirm that both Coach Tait and Assistant Coach Redmond will be back behind the bench with the Herd for the 2022 / 23 season.

Coach Tait iced last weekend in his last competitive game for the Herd and has agreed to continue in a new role for 22 / 23 season as Head Coach.

On continuing his journey with the Herd Ashley said,

“It’s been a long hard season which has took an immense toil on my body, its great that John and I could come to an agreement and I can continue as the club’s Head Coach next season.

Ashley continued,

“I’m also really pleased that Tosh (Tony Redmond) has agreed to continue with the herd and to work with me for the forthcoming season”.

Tony “Tosh” Redmond commonly known as “Mr Basingstoke ” commenting on returning for a further season said,

“I’m really pleased to be back behind the Herd’s bench and am looking forward to working with Ash in our quest for silverware next season”

Whilst the phrase “The end of an era” is often over-used, that is definitely not the case when we look back on the glittering playing career of Ashley Tait.

And while UK ice hockey and its clubs have endured many ups and downs over the past thirty-odd years, the prolific forward has skillfully managed to ride on the crest of a wave (well mostly!) throughout.

As the 2021 / 22 season draws to close this weekend in Coventry, the culmination of the league season also marks the end to an illustrious playing career for Ash and as he finally “hangs em up” at the age of 46, it truly marks the end of an era, not least for the Tait family and his many friends and fans.

Ashley was born in Toronto in 1975 and was introduced to ice hockey at the age of two, skating on the cities many frozen ponds. When dad Gavin and Canadian mum Heather returned to England in 1978, they settled in Nottingham, a city with an ice stadium, but no hockey team for the best part of 20 years!  But when the Panthers reformed in 1980, selling out the building in less than a month, the stage was set for the young Tait to return to the sport.

The youngster grabbed the opportunity with both hands and quickly developed into one of the top players of his generation.

By 1990 he was already playing for the Panthers at the tender age of 15 and helped the club win the Autumn Cup three times over the next six years, only to be surprisingly allowed to leave for the Kingston Hawks in 1997.

After two high scoring seasons for the Hull based side, the GB star was back in Nottingham in 1999, only to part company again in the summer of 2002.

When Tait joined the Coventry Blaze, as captain and was the Blaze top scorer as they pulled off a surprise league and play-off double that season. Two years later they went one better as coach Paul Thompson’s team landed the Grand Slam, followed by another double, league and cup 2006-07.

Ashley enjoyed further success after linking up with Sheffield Steelers, including two league titles and play-off crowns.

He also played a year in Ritten, Italy in 2009 / 10 where he was part of the roster that won both the Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup, before returning to Sheffield and then onto the Coventry Blaze for three further seasons each.

During the 2010 / 11 whilst icing for the Steelers he was voted EIHL British Player of the Year and in the 2003 / 04 & 2004 / 05 seasons, Ash led the league in Most Goals Scored by a British Player.

The versatile forward came to Basingstoke in 2018, and though by then a veteran, soon impressed with his skills, hard work and play making which has rubbed off on the Herd roster.

His career highlights include being captain of his country in 2005 and also playing on the same GB team as his younger brother Warren.

But without a doubt his sweetest moment was his 2005 break-away overtime winner, against the Panthers in Nottingham, which completed the Grand Slam for the Blaze.

Thanks for the memories, Ashley and enjoy your “retirement” from playing this wonderful game and we look forward to seeing you behind the Herd’s bench marshaling the boys!

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