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Manchester City fans revel in Ricky "Hitman" Hatton loving their football club, now Manchester Phoenix supporters can celebrate the re-signing of their very own hitman as Brett Clouthier will wear the club colours again for the 2008-09 campaign.
Tremendously popular in Manchester, 6ft 5ins Clouthier is both feared and respected around the bmibaby Elite League as the toughest player in the league, and that feeling was confirmed last season as supporters across the country overwhelmingly nominated him "Hard as Ice" at the league's end of season awards ceremony.
"I really like Manchester," said Clouthier from his home in the United States. "The club have always been good to me and the supporters are great, we have an excellent rapport as they seem to appreciate the job I do for the team. I come to work hard, play hockey and add some offence to the team, but I guess it's the other side of my game that catches the eye more."
Brett Clouthier is the man head coach Tony Hand entrusts to protect the Phoenix skilled players, should the need arise and the Ottawa native agreed, "I'm here to play a role for the team and part of that role is being prepared to stand up for my teammates. It's a part of the game and it's a part of my game and I don't mind doing it. Receiving the award last year I joked to the other (tough) guys that if they wanted it next season they'd have to come and take it off me... we'll see eh?"
Phoenix coach Tony Hand remarked, "Cloots is a good team guy, he keeps the room loose and he does a great job for us. He's a big guy who gets to the net and causes the other teams defence problems and he gives us that toughness too. Brett chips in with some big goals and we'd like him to improve his scoring contribution, everyone knows about the other side of his game so if we can get some more offence out of him, we'll be very happy."
Clouthier who marries his fiancée Nicole in late June recorded 13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points, and amassed 206 penalty minutes in 60 appearances for the Phoenix last season and he closed saying, "I like playing for Tony, he doesn't over complicate things and that suits me. He wants to win and so do I. The personal awards are all right, but I'd much rather have a trophy for the team that the players and supporters can all celebrate."
Phoenix expect contract paperwork back having agreed terms with another player and expect to make an announcement, probably on Friday morning.