Former Aces blueliner signs with Phoenix

Wednesday, 6th August 2003

Former Altrincham Aces defenceman Russ Richardson has agreed terms and signed for the Manchester Phoenix for the inaugural season of Elite League Ice Hockey.

Salford-born Russ has become the first of the locally trained home-grown players who took part in trials for the Phoenix in June to sign for the club. The solidly built 24-year old left shot defenceman has previously iced in Ice Hockey Superleague with the Manchester Storm, but is looking forward to playing more in Elite League.

"When Rick Brebant met with us,” Richardson commented, “he told us he intends to use the British players as much as possible. That is what we all want - the opportunity to test ourselves and show that we can compete given the chance." The former Great Britain U-20 international added, “Rick has given us a strength and conditioning programme to work to during the summer and with further ice time to come before the rest of the players arrive, he is giving us every chance to be ready to play and I will be giving it my best shot every time he puts me out there."

Phoenix coach Rick Brebant stated, “Right from the start of the trials at Blackburn, I could see potential in Russ. He skates well, has good size and strength, and will learn a lot from the other defencemen we are signing. He’s played in Superleague, so he’s had a taste of the higher level – now he has a chance to stake his claim for a longer-term future. I’ve talked with Paul Bayliss, his coach from Altrincham and I know which areas Russ and I will need to work on to bring him on. The Elite League is determined to promote the home-grown talent and in Russ, I think we have a player for the future.”

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