After the excitement of the Phoenix first re-building announcement the Phoenix followed that up by announcing two returning Brit's to the roster. Captain fantastic and goal scoring machine Luke Boothroyd and hard man winger James Archer. Both players were always likely to return to the Phoenix but, especially in Boothroyd's case, there is always the worry the club will lose them to the EIHL.
Forward - James Archer
Despite a bit of a slow start James ended the 12-13 season with his highest season points tally with the Phoenix and, one of the highest in his career. He is not a flashy player or overly skillful but he packs one hell of a punch. Difficult to move off the puck, James has a good hockey mind to get in the right place at the right time. His 12/13 season finished with a point per game average, pretty good for a second line winger. Ideally I would like to see him edge up that average in the coming year.
Defence - Luke Boothroyd
Captain fantastic, returns for a 6th season with the Phoenix and, possibly, 5th as captain. One of the solid rocks in the EPL Luke gives the Phoenix such a cool/calm head on the blue line. Partnered with Schanbel he formed an impressive pairing. Not only known for his defencive abilities, 12/13 marked Luke out as being a danger on the powerplay. Intelligent with the puck Luke had a career year last year and really proved he could be one of the few Brit EPL players who could handle the step up to the EIHL.
So that's three forwards (four including Sir Toe Knee) and one defenceman announced so far. While there is a long way to go in terms of roster building, the Phoenix are looking good so far.
The time between this announcement and the writing of this blog post, the joy has been tempered somewhat by the news Tom Duggan will not be returning to the Phoenix for a fourth season. He was announced as a Guildford Flames player for the 13/14 season
I am gutted Tom has left but, as someone said on one of the hockey forums, 'he was only ever on loan at the Phoenix while at university up here' so, with his last exam completed I guess it was a matter of time before his return south. Tom has been a consistent performer for the Phoenix and definitely a player who plays for the badge on the front rather than the name on the back. Thanks for all your efforts Tom, you will always be welcome in Altrincham.