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Manchester Phoenix player-coach Tony Hand has inked his first non-British trained player in recruiting the vastly experienced and wily Ukrainian defenceman Pavel Gomeniuk.
Originally from Kiev, capital of the Ukraine, the 32-year old learned his trade with the Berkut and Sokol clubs before first coming to the UK late in the 2002-03 season to play in Solihull. His defensive attributes were quickly spotted and the following season he returned to these shores to ice for the Hull Stingrays where he spent the next two seasons.
A move to the Newcastle Vipers for the 2005-06 season saw Pavel play a major part in the Vipers Playoff Championship before he returned to Humberside for a second stint with the Stingrays.
"Pavel is one of those players who goes about his work in a quiet, but highly effective manner," commented Hand on his first 'import' signing. "He knows the game in the UK, he's married to a British girl and settled here and he'll bring a canny know-how of how to play the game to our locker room. He's a clever player, scores his fair share of points for a defenceman, and is quite happy to play a physical type of game. One thing you know you're going to get with Pasha is a dead-pan face, but great ability and experience."
Standing just 5ft 9ins, the left-shot Gomeniuk - nicknamed Pasha - doesn't let a lack of inches hamper or limit his hockey skills and he's looking forward to a new challenge playing for the Phoenix. "I've always been one of the smaller guys on just about every team I've played, but size doesn't make you a better player, it's how you use your head together with your physique. I've won championships before and I think I'm due another one, that's why I've signed for Tony and Manchester."