It’s GBs’ Murphy and prospect Summerfield between the pipes
Great Britain international netminder Stephen Murphy and outstanding prospect Adam Summerfield will form the Manchester Phoenix netminding combination for season 2008-09.
Phoenix head coach Tony Hand expressed himself to be “very happy” to have secured the services of fellow Scot Murphy and “keen to give a promising prospect a key role,” in entrusting 17-year old Adam Summerfield with the back-up role.
Hand commented, “I’ve worked with Murph before when we were successful in Dundee together and he’s gone on to force his way into the national team. Naturally, I was keen to watch him in the recent world championships and he showed there what he is capable of with an impressive save percentage of 93.3%. He’s an athletic goalie and I know the Phoenix fans will appreciate his style of play.” On Adam Summerfield Hand added, “Adam had an excellent season with the Under-18s’ last year as they went unbeaten in winning their division. He trained regularly with the Elite squad last season and I felt he deserved the chance to join Phil Hamer as a full-blown member of the squad for this season.”
Dundee born Stephen Murphy has never been afraid to travel in order to pursue his career having started playing with the Paisley Pirates before joining the Fife Flyers. The 2000-01 season saw him play in North America before returning home to Dundee. Linking up with Tony Hand in 2001-02 saw Murphy win silverware as the Stars romped to the BNL Championship title. Murphy subsequently played from Bracknell before moving to Sweden for two seasons. A year back in Scotland with the Edinburgh Capitals then led him to the Norwegian Elite League last season icing with Stjernen.
Murphy remarked, “Moving around has never been a problem to me, I think it’s helped me develop my game. I’ve enjoyed success before with Tony in Dundee and I think my time on both Sweden and Norway has improved me game. Hockey there is much more of a mainstream sport, it’s reported heavily and there’s a big focus on the game.”
He added, “I think playing there (Scandinavia) has helped me develop a winning attitude and that’s what I’ll try to bring to Manchester. It’s another new city for me, one I’m looking forward to and a great challenge to help the club climb and challenge for trophies. I enjoyed the world championships in Austria and I suppose subconsciously I was putting myself in the shop window. Tony contacted me after we got home and I’m pleased to be joining him again – we were successful together before, let’s hope we can be again.”
Adam Summerfield will only turn 18-years of age shortly before the start of the 2008-09 season and on signing for the Phoenix Elite team he said, “I trained with the team last year and shared the back-up role in the second half of the season. Naturally, I was delighted when Tony rang and asked me to be the regular back-up this season, I’m over the moon. To work with the current national team goalie in Stephen Murphy will be exciting too as we’re both left-handers and similar build, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from him. I know it’s going to be an even steeper learning curve than last season, but I’m excited and can’t wait to get going.”
Phoenix are in the advanced stages of negotiation with two more forwards and are hoping to conclude contract offers shortly. GM Andy Costigan noted, “The talks are proceeding well and we’re hopeful that both will agree to join us.”