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J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix have made a change to their roster this week.
Scott McKenzie has left the club and has been replaced by another member of the McKenzie clan, fellow Scot Bari.
Scott joined the club in the summer from Telford Tigers but has struggled to find the form he showed with his old club. He has iced in all 23 games this season for Phoenix, scoring 6 goals and 8 assists. He will play for Phoenix this weekend then re-join the Telford Tigers.
Coach Hand said of McKenzie: “Scott is a good lad and worked his socks off for the team. However I felt we needed a change and, after talking to him, the upshot was that he would move back to his old club in Telford. The whole squad and myself wish Scott all the best and hope everything works out well for him.”
In Scott’s stead, Phoenix are pleased to welcome 26 year old Bari McKenzie. Bari, a native of Dumfries , arrived in the English Premier League with Milton Keynes Lightning as a 17 year old in 2003. Three seasons, 108 games, 26 goals,18 assists, two league championship medals and three play off winners’ medals later, he moved across the pond for a season with the Restigouche Tigers of New Brunswick in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.
Returning home the following season he played for the Belfast Giants in the Elite League and Chelmsford Chieftains back in the EPL. The next two seasons found him back in his home town, playing for Solway Sharks where he scored an incredible 79 goals and 87 assists. His scoring prowess over these two years got him noticed by Edinburgh Capitals and he joined the Murrayfield club in the 2010-2011 season. He stayed for the following season and was given an assistant captain’s role at the club.
Bari moved on at the beginning of this season and signed for Cardiff Devils and scored 3 goals and 7 assists before being released to make way for Mark Richardson’s return to Cardiff from Kazakhstan. Bari has also picked up 2 gold medals representing Great Britain in the World Championships at under 18 and under 20 levels.
Coach Hand commented: “Bari is an experienced player both in the Elite League and our own English Premier League. He will bring a different dimension to the team as we look to get back on track in the chase for the league title.”
Press Officer Jim Piper caught up with Bari, who had this to say: “It was disappointing to leave Cardiff under the circumstances but these things happen in hockey. I had talks with several clubs but when Tony Hand called, I felt that this was the right move for me. Tony had spoken to me in the summer but I committed to the Devils. It felt good to know he was still interested and I have heard only good things about Phoenix so it did not take long to make up my mind to come to Manchester.”
Stats for Bari McKenzie
Elite League Played 158 Goals 28 Assists 52 Penalty Minutes 80
EPL Played 115 Goals 27 Assists 20 Penalty Minutes 47
NPIHL Played 84 Goals 79 Assists 87 Penalty Minutes 166