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J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix announced two players at the annual fans’ Meet the Players night at the Cresta Court Hotel on Thursday evening.
A huge cheer broke out in the large turnout when Tony Hand confirmed that he would again be playing for Phoenix this coming season.
Tony said: “I love playing and if I can contribute to the team then I will lace up the old boots again. I will however, not be playing 60 odd games. The body is too old for that now. I will be on the bench more often as the young lads need their chance. My commitment is to Manchester Phoenix and it is time to start the transition to coaching from the bench. Having consulted with Neil (Morris), I feel that this may be my last season on ice. I think we have a team capable of winning the league and that has to be our aim for the new season.”
Phoenix also announced their 4th import and completed the line up with Czech forward Robin Kovar. The 6ft 1 centre started his hockey life with HC Vsetin and was a prolific scorer with the under 18 squad. His one appearance for the senior team earned him a Czech Extraliga winner’s medal. He was drafted in the 2001 CHL import draft by the Vancouver Giants in the second round and played two seasons with them in the Western Hockey league. Edmonton oilers drafted him in 2002 in round 4 and he spent most of the 2003-04 season with the Regina Pats in the WHL. He returned home the following season and joined the senior team at Vsetin again.
Robin then had two seasons at Zlin, followed by stints at Trebic, Brno and Sumperk before moving across the border to Slovakia with top side Liptovsky Mikulas. He then played a short season at Eindhoven Kemphanen in the Dutch league before returning to Zvolen in the Slovakian League. In 2011 he moved back home and played for Slovan Ustecti Lvi in the second division before putting pen to paper for Tony Hand.
Coach Hand said of his latest acquisition: “He is a strong lad with good hands. He is versatile although primarily a centre and will fit in well with our plans for the season. He is experienced and has played at a good level in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and I am sure he will do well for us here.”
Robin spoke to Press Officer Jim Piper on arrival at Manchester Airport on Tuesday evening: “I am really pleased to be coming to Manchester. I have heard good words about the organisation. It is my first time to England and I am looking forward to the experience. I see the club won the Play-offs last season and I hope to help the team win again this year.”