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Jake Nurse, that is. The 21yr old forward has stepped up from the Trafford Metros to the senior Phoenix side for the 2012-13 season.
A huge crowd at the “Phoenix so far” event in the Cresta Court Hotel last week rose as one to cheer the announcement of the latest addition to the new squad.
Jake, a local Timperley lad, started his hockey career at the old Devonshire Road rink in Altrincham, skating for their under 12 team, the Spitfires. At 15, when his home rink closed down, he had to move to Blackburn to continue what was already looking like a promising hockey adventure. He iced for the Blackburn Thunderhawks. Next season, when the new rink opened at Altrincham Jake went back home and joined the Phoenix programme, icing for the Under 19s and the following year he donned the colours of the Phoenix ENL and Under 18 sides.
In 2008 Jake put up a creditable 36 points for the Manchester team and continued to play the following year for the same club, now re-named as the Trafford Metros. Last season, Jake was called up to the Phoenix senior side on 3 occasions to help out when injuries to Phoenix were taking their toll. He obviously impressed coach Hand as he has now been called up full time for the new campaign
Jake has been described as a gritty, feisty, in your face forward who is not scared to get his hands dirty in a game, never hesitating to back up his team mates when necessary.
Jim “Tambo” Piper caught up with Jake to find out what he thought of the call up and his aspirations for the new season.
Jim: “You got a tremendous reception at the Cresta Court last week, did that surprise you a bit?“
Jake: “Sort of a surprise, but I had been given great support from the Phoenix fans last season when I iced for the senior team. It was still very overwhelming when I went through the door and the whole room was cheering.”
“You are the second ENL squad member to make the step up after Ben Wood. Is this a dream come true for you and where do you see yourself fitting into the squad?”
“Definitely, it must be every kid’s dream to play for their home club. As it is my first season, I probably won’t get too much ice time but I am there to learn as well. I am there to do anything the coach asks me to. Ben Wood has been a good example of working your way through the teams and I hope in time, to establish myself with Phoenix as Ben has.”
“You do have a bit of a reputation of being feisty and not slow to drop the gloves if necessary. Is that your role or is there much more to Jake Nurse?”
“There is a lot more to my game. I see myself as a power forward. I work hard in the corners, will get in the netminder’s face in front of the net. It is not just about dropping the gloves, although I won’t hesitate if the situation warrants it. I can also be an agitator, getting in the faces of better players to get a reaction. I like to throw big hits and stand up for my team mates.”
“You stepped up for three games last season. What was that experience like for you?”
“It was fantastic. Not just playing, but training with the team, watching, learning the systems and exactly what the coach wanted of me. I got great encouragement from him and the other players. The locker room was a great place to be and I thoroughly enjoyed the games.”
“What sort of preparation are you going through during the summer, and is it any different from your normal summer routine?”
“I am in the gym every day, building my fitness. I intend to go into the season fitter than ever before. I have an eating plan, devised after getting advice from Ben Wood, so really I am doing things expected of me prior to the hockey training beginning.”