Hand almost ready for new season

Friday, 16th July 2010

Manchester Phoenix player-coach Tony Hand has flown off on a family holiday knowing that his own level of fitness and pre-season conditioning is well on course for another season of English Premier League ice hockey.

Ahead of flying he told the Manchester Phoenix website, "Apart from a freezing cold golfing break in Spain, I've been back in the gym everyday since the beginning of May getting ready for the coming campaign. My legs feel fine, my core strength feels as good as it has for a couple of years, and once I get back on the ice in a couple of weeks and get skating again, I'll be fine by the time the season begins. I still enjoy the regimen of training and I still enjoy playing, and as long as that remains the case and I can contribute, I'll play on a little longer yet."

Hand, who will celebrate his 43rd birthday ahead of the new season beginning will ice in his 28th season as a professional player, and is still the player that everyone in British ice hockey looks to as the shining example of dedication and professionalism.

Former GM Andy Costigan told the club website, "There have been plenty of players who have played on into their forties and Tony can surely do that, he keeps himself in tremendous shape. As for his contributing, how can anyone argue with a guy who again notched over a hundred points last season? Those who suggest he should retire from playing now are doing him and the club a terrible disservice, It is no exaggeration to say, he is still irreplaceable."