So as we all know the Phoenix have moved to the EPL, seen by many a fan as a good thing and one that should help to ensure the long term survival of the club. To date the signings have included a mix of returnees and a few new faces to the league. From releases by the club it seems that most of the Brit positions, on the roster, have been filled. With import signings news to come soon!
So far the roster is shaping up rather nicely and has won warm approval from the Phoenix faithful. With the added bonus of Tony playing on for another season, this will tempt a few players to join the Phoenix. Its for this reason I think the Phoenix have done well to retain the services of Adam Walker and Luke Boothroyd. Both Brits could find a place on any EIHL roster.
So my plan for this post is to go through the team so far and offer my own opinion's on each player. Naturally you can make your own mind up, however it will be an exciting time when we all make our way to the Ice Dome for the first game!
So onto the team:
Goaltender – Steve Fone
A player who needs no introduction to Phoenix fans, and a player who will get the full weight of the fans support from the off. Already a bit of a legend for coming to help the Phoenix out on a couple of occasions, and putting some damn fine performances in to boot. A collective screech of joy could be heard when his signing was announced. Steve is already a well rounded goaltender, and he must be relishing his first season as an out right starter. If he plays his cards right he could well command an EIHL start soon. Naturally I hope he stays with the Phoenix and becomes a franchise player!
Goaltender – Adam Summerfield
A local lad who has spent the past few seasons as the Phoenix back up nettie. However when called upon Adam has coped well with his few minutes in EIHL action. Adam has all the necessaries to become a great net-minder, he just needs the ice time now. You never know he may well get that in the EPL!
Defenceman – Carl Graham
Carl had, you could argue, a career season in 08/09. Exposed to extended periods on the ice has helped Carl develop into a very capable D man. He reads the puck well, is not afraid to put his body about and rarely wastes the puck. With a loyal, and very vocal, support Carl will relish the season in the EPL, and his performances will come on as a result!
Defenceman – Luke Boothroyd
A shining star alongside DAB for the Phoenix in 08/09, a great season where he never looked outclassed. Even finding time to lay out Brad Voth! The Huddersfield native could easily have found a place in the EIHL for next season, so its a real coup for the Phoenix to retain his services. With the expected ice time for Luke next season, he could quickly become the Phoenix number 1 D man. The real development for Luke will to start generating a bit more offence. Not that I demand it, its probably the only thing really lacking from his game right now.
Defenceman – Joe Graham
A new face to the Phoenix, coming across from Nottingham this will be an interesting season for Joe. Also adds to the confusion for Andy being the second Graham on the roster. If The Cage Forum is to be believed the Phoenix have grabbed a decent player in Joe. One they are sad to have lost. There does seem to be a little confusion as to whether he is on a two way contract or not, I can only hope he isn't. The last thing we need is for Joe to up sticks and leave when the Panthers want him. Under Tony this young Brit defence-man will want a career year to help forge his case for a GB call up.
Forward – Adam Walker
Another cracking signing for the Phoenix, Adam had a great year in 08/09 and could have found an EIHL place. Adam has developed into a classy skillful forward, one who is also pretty darn good at taking penalty shots. Adam will want to become one the Phoenix leading forwards this year, and there is no reason why he cant!
Forward – Ben Wood
I will admit to not knowing much about Ben, other than the few times he iced for the Elite Phoenix squad I was not able to go to many ENL games. However from what I did see Ben does look to have all the ingredients of a decent forward. He is tall, skilful on the puck and a very good skater. He will love being on the same ice as Tony Hand all season, and, as with Carl and Adam Summerfield the extra ice time will do wonders for his development. One to watch for the future me thinks!
Forward – Tony Hand
Well the man needs no introduction, he may well have started to slow down. He is 41 after all! However his mind and hands are still as sharp as the day he got on the ice. He will relish the EPL, and the opposition players will not know what hit them. All I can say is, to all the other EPL fans out there your in for a treat!
Forward – Ian Bowie
Another exciting prospect for the Phoenix, Ian joins us from a début season in the EIHL for the Capitals. Playing on the same forward lines as Adam and Tony, Ian should develop well this season. Hopefully this exposure will help Ian turn into an exciting forward. I cant really comment much more than that as I dont know a lot about him!
So that's the roster so far.....well save for the Nottingham Evening Post revealing two further signings in Rob Lachowicz and James Neil! Ill leave you to go over and take a look at the Cage to form your own opinion on them!