What a season for the Phoenix, the absolute roller coaster of a season was endured by those in the stands and the players on the ice.
We had the highs:
- David –Alexandre Beauregard
- The ageless Tony Hand
- Reaching two cup finals
- Reaching the playoffs again
- The emergence of Stephen Murphy and Luke Boothroyd as two outstanding Brits
- The fans
We had the lows:
- Grant Jacobsen treating the Phoenix as a training camp
- Loosing two cup finals
- Not making the weekend in Nottingham
- Being bullied out of the league – almost
- Not having anywhere near the budget to break into the top four
This season was a season to be proud to be a Phoenix fan, the club has improved so much this year and there is much to be hopeful for. This season has shown the superb team we have had this season in Manchester. A team capable of running anyone ragged and for a moment a table topping team.
Tony Hand did it again and assembled a fantastic team on a shoe string, the headlines will go to David-Alexandre Beauregard but there were many stars on this team. You can check back on my Phoenix player rating post to see my views there.
The season will always be a bit tempered by what could have been, had we not had to play 17 games in a month, could we have won two cups? Had we not played so many games could we have knocked the Panthers out the playoffs? All the heartache caused by those thoughts has to be put into context by one thing:
Had anyone offered a Phoenix fan, two cup finals and another appearance in the Playoffs, what would you say?
Im sure pretty much every Phoenix fan would have said yes please!
If you forced me to pick one moment, one game that summed up the season, it would have to be periods one and two in the first leg of the challenge cup finals against the Belfast Giants. Sublime team play lay waste to one of the big four and had the Phoenix 4-0 up. The Ice Dome rocking its foundations with a deafening wall of noise, you can have your 7,000 seat arena but on that night, there was no better atmosphere any where all season!
So what now for the Phoenix, another EIHL season, (not 100% confirmed yet!) a season in a league where rules are openly broken, where 6 teams almost muscled us out. Our aim has to be to win a trophy. Upset the apple cart and make a stab at breaking the top four.
So to all Hull/Edinburgh and Newcastle fans, let us unite and rock 0910!