Mark Thomas interview

Friday, 29th August 2003

Much travelled and with a wide experience despite having only taken up the game of ice hockey within the past seven years, Mark Thomas is another raw talent that Phoenix Head Coach Rick Brebant is hoping to develop this coming season. Mark only took up ice hockey after watching the Manchester Storm and decided to chance his luck at U-19’s trials at Altrincham.

Mark did well and soon became friendly with Nick Crawley who introduced him to roller hockey with no lack of success as witnessed by their continued appearances for the Great Britain national team as recently as this summers World In-Line Championships staged in Germany. t home on roller blades or ice skates, Mark is keen to learn and develop his skills. “The Phoenix trials at Blackburn were a good experience and I was very pleased to be asked to attend the second trials. Having Rick Brebant then select me for further consideration was a thrill – I love ice hockey and am looking forward to training again with seasoned professionals. Kris Miller was always a favourite of mine when he played in Manchester and training last year with the Knights when I was playing for Haringey really whetted my appetite to work hard this year.”

A year playing in Canada certainly proved an influential period in his development and Mark cites his time with the Banff Icemen as being very special. “It was another great experience for me to play in Canada. I wasn’t too sure what to expect and to play first line defence and ending up as the teams leading scoring d-man was very encouraging. The coach in Banff, Billy Doherty, was very supportive and I would say he and Nick have probably been the biggest help to me in hockey so far.”

Like most British hockey players in their late teens and early 20’s Mark has very simple objectives where the game is concerned, “I want to play at the highest level possible and I’m delighted to have this chance with the new team in Manchester.”