By Tom Hurley
Thunder General Manager Dave Fairhurst has reluctantly announced the departure of popular young forward Connor Hutchison. The left-hand shot joined Thunder on a two-way contract in 2016-17, icing for Thunder in seven games in addition to playing in U18s, U20s and NIHL South 2 with Basingstoke.
“It was a tough decision on both sides but it was decided that Connor needs to get regular ice time to progress his game and so we have released him to Basingstoke Buffalo in the NIHL2,” Fairhurst said.
“Connor needs to be playing. In an ideal world we could have had a two way agreement with the Buffalo like we did last season, but with Bison now being our league the rules state we can no longer have that deal. We wish Connor well and look forward to seeing him back in Thunder colours very soon.”
Hutchison dressed in nine games for Thunder this season, although found playing time limited due to the rise in standard of NIHL since the demise of the EPL last summer. MKT head coach Lewis Clifford hopes the extra ice time he’ll see in Basingstoke will help the teenager elevate his game to the next level.
“Connor is a young player with great potential,” Clifford said. “But he needs to be logging regular ice time to start reaching that potential. It’s a shame the two-way couldn’t work but I’m sure he’ll establish himself quickly in the Buffalo team and look to make the step back up in the near future.”
Luke Reynolds has also departed Thunder, signing with Slough Jets of NIHL South 2.