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Canadian right-winger Kyle Bruce is the final summer signing for the Manchester Phoenix and his announcement helps make it a Happy Birthday for player-coach Tony Hand MBE.
Speaking about completing his roster Hand said, "It's been a long summer as I've taken my time, but with Kyle coming on board, I'm very happy with the squad we've assembled and now it's time to start preparing for the training camp. Kyle will bring us the 'power forward' element I've been looking for," added the coach who celebrates his 41st birthday today. "He's strong on the puck, gritty and he's a powerful, physical player."
Twenty-five year old right shot Kyle Bruce, originally from Garden City in British Columbia, was an 8th round draft pick of the Florida Panthers in 2001 and twice attended pre-season training camps with the NHL outfit as well his more local team, the Vancouver Canucks. A product of the tough Western Hockey League at junior level, Kyle turned professional in 2004 signing with the Columbia Inferno, before going to college to read Classical Studies. "I was studying for a BA but, found I was missing the hockey. Training and playing hockey was too important to me at that time. Going back to the East Coast Hockey League late in the 06-07 season, I joined the Idaho Steelheads and was part of their team that won the championship. That was a feeling I really liked and want to repeat."
Last season Kyle, who stands six foot and weighs in at 205lbs, played in the Central Hockey League for the Wichita Thunder where his physical style of play saw him post a career-high 247 penalty minutes. "I do play a strong, aggressive style of hockey. I play an offensive, competitive game, working as hard as I can every shift and I don't mind taking the body to win the puck back and get things going our way. I don't like losing, never have done - never will, and I'll do anything for my team and teammates. I've done some homework on Manchester and my wife Jessica and I are really looking forward to getting there. I know a number of the guys on the team and it looks a strong and talented squad."
Phoenix GM Andy Costigan added, "Kyle obviously enjoys throwing a hit as he won the "Glass Rattler of the Year" award in Wichita last season where he was immensely popular. I'm sure he'll quickly become equally as big a fan favourite in Manchester too."