References from former Elite League stars Shaun Sutter and Joe Tallari and the help of the University of Bolton were influential factors in Manchester Phoenix head coach Tony Hand completing the signing of Canadian forward Bruce Mulherin from the Las Vegas Wranglers.
The 26-year old from Red Deer Alberta was quick to cite the good things he heard from Sutter and Tallari after agreeing terms to join the Manchester Phoenix. “It was after speaking with Shaun that I first got in contact with Tony Hand to see if there was any interest. And after speaking with Joe who’d also played in Las Vegas, he too said good things about the UK, the league and Manchester in particular, so my decision wasn’t too hard in making.”
Bruce Mulherin started playing hockey with the Olds Grizzlies in the Alberta Junior Hockey League before spending four years at the University of Alabama studying for his BSC in Business Administration. Turning professional two years ago, he split his rookie season in the East Coast Hockey League between the Gwinnett Gladiators and the Toledo Storm. Last season he was a huge part of the Las Vegas Wranglers side that lost out in Game Six of the Kelly Cup Final playing as late as June 6th. “We actually played later in the season than the NHL did,” he commented before adding, “And it was very disappointing to lose out in the final. It was however, a great experience and one that makes me want to try even harder next season to win a championship. I really enjoyed playing in Vegas, everyone wants to play there and now I’m looking forward to coming to Manchester.”
The left shot winger can also play the centre position and that versatility appeals to Tony Hand as he looks to put the finishing touches to his new roster. “Bruce was highly recommended to me as a great team guy, hard-working, eager and determined to succeed. He can play a physical game, score goals or be the set-up guy. He plays both ends of the ice and that’s the kind of attitude and effort we want from our team this season. I’ve only got two or three more places open and hopefully they’ll be filled very shortly.”
With a BSC already achieved, the 6ft, 185lb forward is keen to continue his education and the Phoenix tie-up with the University of Bolton also helped conclude the contract negotiations. “I’m still developing as a player and I learn something new about myself and the game everyday. I like to think I’ll bring good energy and enthusiasm to the team. The chance to study is a real bonus and was a huge selling point for Manchester over some other teams, especially on top of the good things that Sutts and Joe told me. I spoke to Coach Hand two or three times and I’m excited to have signed a contract. Ultimately, I’ll probably look to get into Sales & Marketing, so the chance to continue my studies while playing hockey in a big city like Manchester is a great opportunity for me.”