BASINGSTOKE Bison captain Philippe Roy (pronounced Wah) leads the Herd by example and takes his inspiration from ice hockey legend Bobby Orr.

Bobby played for the Boston Bruins in the National Hockey League and wore number four. When this shirt number was not available on his university team, Phil chose 44 - the number he wears for the Bison.

Phil said: "He is the best defenceman I have ever seen and revolutionised the defensive style by the way he took the puck from end to end."

The 26-year-old French Canadian was born in Magog, Quebec, and started skating at the age of three, taking up the game of ice hockey a year later.

Phil was soon patrolling the blue line and this did not happen by chance. He explained: "As a forward, my coach felt I never came back to help the defence out, so he put me back in defence and I have stayed there ever since. I like playing in that position as you can read the game and look to see where to put the puck."

Phil's most memorable game in his career came as a teenager in an under-17 tournament playing for Team Quebec.

In the final, the French Canadian kids trailed Team USA 3-0 going into the last period, but then staged a great comeback to tie the game with four seconds left, before going on to win it in overtime.

Phil said: "There were 10,000 people in the building rooting for us and I thought the roof was going to come off with the noise when we finally won the game."

Notable names in that team were NHL stars of today Jean-Sebastien Giquere, Daniel Briere and Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre.

At junior A level, Phil played for the Cornwall Colts with current Bison Matt Reid as one of his team mates. The pair were reunited at Clarkson University, where Phil spent four years.

The following 2000/01 season was his first as a professional hockey player and he played for the Muskegon Fury in the United Hockey League. He returned 45 points in that season from 73 games, hitting the back of the net 14 times.

The following year he played nine games in the American Hockey League for Saint John (Calgary Flames farm team) before ending the season playing for the Johnstown Chiefs in the East Coast Hockey League.

This gave Phil the chance to play for a team made famous by the cult ice hockey film Slapshot.

Phil said: "That is a great movie and things like the arena and the high step onto the ice and colours are still the same today. It makes the movie special as I lived there for more than a year."

Phil started last season in the uniform of Johnstown and, once again, showed his offensive flair, scoring 30 points in 56 games, including 11 goals.

He was traded in March after it was discovered he hoped to come to Europe this season, and so he finished the year at fellow ECHL club Augusta Lynx, where current Bison Curtis Cruickshank was their starting netminder.

This summer, his wish to come to Europe was granted, when he signed for the Wella-backed side.

Phil said: "I knew I had missed my chance to make it to the NHL, so it was time to see the world. I came here with the attitude 'I'll see what happens'. I knew the culture would be different, but the worst thing was getting used to driving on the other side of the road."

He added: "I didn't have any idea of what to expect hockey-wise, and I did wonder what I had let myself in for when in our first game we only had 10 players due to ITC problems." While settling into his role in the team, he was voted team captain after just two weeks in the country.

Phil said: "I have to say I thought the job would probably go to one of the guys who had played here before."

He added: "It is a great honour. I feel we have a good bunch of guys and we are proving ourselves to be competitive.

"I am sure it will be an exciting season for the fans in Basingstoke."