Two more return to the Phoenix ranks

Tuesday, 11th June 2013

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix are pleased to announce the return of two more players for the 2013-14 season.

Czech defender Robert Schnabel returns for the second year of his two year deal and forward Andrew McKinney also signs on for another year.

Phoenix fans will be delighted at the return of the experienced Schnabel. Robert not only patrolled the blue line but also performed the duties of the team’s policeman when required.

The 6ft 5inch 238lb giant was imperious at times last season, using his vast experience to good effect in the team’s march to the play off title. He has iced in over 800 professional games, including 22 in the NHL, 279 in the AHL, 139 in the Czech Elite League and appearances in the top leagues in Sweden, Finland and Slovakia. Robert iced in 49 games last season for Phoenix, scoring 8 goals and 18 assists whilst picking up 126 penalty minutes.

Robert had this to say on Phoenix TV: “Last season was great. Winning the Play-offs is special. If you win your last game of the season you have a great summer. Hopefully we will carry on from Coventry. I really enjoyed the club and the fans, who are great. Hopefully I can avoid injury and play the full season.”

Coach Hand commented: “Robert was excellent last season and really showed his experience in key games. He has great leadership skills and his role was important to the team. I thought he was great in the play-off weekend and I am very pleased to have him back again this coming season.”

Phoenix are also happy to announce that forward Andrew McKinney will wear the colours again in 2013-14.

Andrew, born in Hamilton, Ontario, qualifies as a British player having played junior hockey in this country. After a season in the British under 19 league, playing for Flintshire Avalanche, he crossed the pond for a season in the WHA Junior A league for Squamish Cougars. Returning in 2008-09 he signed for Telford Tigers in the English Premier League. A season in Altrincham followed with Andy joining the Trafford Metros, also playing up for the senior Phoenix team on 7 occasions. On the move again in 2010, the tough forward returned to Telford Tigers. The following year, whilst still in Tigers colours, Hull Stingrays of the Elite League came calling in November and he played for them for the remainder of that season. Phoenix coach Tony Hand asked Andy to come back to Altrincham last season and he brought grit and speed to the second and third lines, scoring a creditable 13 goals and 15 assists. He also showed he was not one to be pushed around, picking up 105 penalty minutes.

Andy spoke to Press Officer Jim Piper and said: “Last year was the highlight of my career so far. Winning in Coventry was awesome and it was great to get a trophy for the fans. I am really looking forward to the new season and to give it a real go for all three trophies.”

Coach Hand also commented: “I thought Andy had a good season with us and he worked well with different lines when we had to move things around due to injuries. His 13 goals was a good return for his efforts and the physical side of his game was important. He is a young lad and I am looking for even better things for him in the forthcoming campaign.”

Robert Schnabel

Robert Schnabel had a great summer after winning the play-offs.
(Image: Richard Allan)

Andy McKinney

McKinney: playing for Phoenix last season was the highlight of his career so far.
(Image: Richard Allan)

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