Phoenix complete their import line-up

Thursday, 23rd August 2012

Coach Tony Hand MBE has made his selections for the remaining two import spots on the Manchester Phoenix roster for the forthcoming season.

Bolstering the forward lines of the J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix will be Finnish finisher Timo Kuuluvainen.  The 28 year old winger joins Phoenix having spent last season with Strasbourg in France, where he registered 15 goals and 12 assists with 32 penalty minutes from 32 games.  The versatile winger can ice in either the left wing or right wing position, and comes to Phoenix with two league championships under his belt.

Splitting his junior development between KalPa and Tappara, Timo turned pro with KalPa and made a name for himself in the Finland 2 league, where he also iced with teams such as Jukurit, Hokki and Koovee.  In 2010 he signed with Epinal in France, before spending last season in Strasbourg.

Coach Hand’s track record in signing forwards for Phoenix has been impressive so far, and we’re confident that Timo Kuuluvainen will be adding to that record!

Timo was interviewed for Phoenix TV and had this to say: “I don’t know too much about the British hockey but I know a former Phoenix player, Hagelberg, from playing with him in juniors and have heard only good things about Manchester and Phoenix organisation.  I love to score goals and to play a quick fast type of game, they are strengths of mine. Hope the fans will fill the rink and support us and I promise to give them something back in return.”

Coach Hand commented: “Timo is a good fast skater and can operate on either wing. He will excite and I think he will do very well in this league. He has a lot of experience in a very good Finnish second division and two years in France’s top league”

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix are also very pleased to announce that  25 year old Czech Republic defender Ondrej Pozivil is the final addition to Tony Hand’s defensive unit for the 2012-13 season.

A product of the well- established HC Litvinov junior system, Ondrej started with them as an underage player in the under 18 league team when only 14.  Two seasons later he was a regular in the Litvinov under 20 team and the following year earned a call up to the national under 18’s in the World Junior Championships.

In 2005 he moved up to the Czech second division with a loan spell at Chomutov and for the next 5 years played around the same division, on loan, while still a Litvinov player. He made his debut for the senior side in 2007, icing 14 times and was regularly called up during the next two seasons.

2010 saw him sign for Vrchlabi in the second division and after a successful year, he moved on to Hradec Kralove, helping them to the promotion play off quarter finals. His talents were recognised by Mulhouse of the French Magnus league and he signed for them only to be released almost immediately due to the club’s financial situation. Mulhouse’s misfortune was definitely Phoenix’s gain when the defender agreed to come to Manchester.

Described in his prospects report as a player with swift skating skills, showing above average speed and agility, he has a solid defensive flair and likes to join the rush. Ondrej has excellent vision allowing him to make strong plays with the puck and contribute to the powerplay.

At 25, his career record of 257 games in the Czech 2nd division, which is in effect the second tier of Czech hockey, behind their Extraliga, is impressive and he will definitely be an asset to the team’s defensive unit this season.

Ondrej was interviewed by Pete Hagan and he said: “I am a defenceman but like to be more offensive when i can. I am looking forward to seeing theteam and the fans. I have heard that British hockey is physical. Phoenix are a team that challenge every year and have big ambitions every season and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Coach Tony Hand MBE said this of his latest acquisition:” I think Ondrej will be an excellent signing for Phoenix. He is young but very experienced for his age, having played in the Extraliga in the Czech Republic. He skates well and is a very mobile type of player. He will do very well in our league.”