Two Phoenix stalwarts sign for another season

Tuesday, 24th June 2014

Manchester Phoenix held a VIP signing event in conjunction with Grosvenor Casino Stockport on Sunday. Tony Hand MBE, Neil Morris and 60 fans were present at the very successful afternoon at which Luke Boothroyd and James Archer confirmed their return. Tony and Neil also gave the fans an update on various items, including an update on the League situation for the upcoming season.

Neil stated that the season ticket would have 27 competitive games irrespective of how many teams are in the league. Should there be only 9 teams, it is possible that the cup competition would be a stand-alone competition with 3 home and 3 away games to resolve qualification for the semi final stage. None of the above could or would be confirmed until after the league AGM next weekend. Tony gave an update on the way the team is shaping and said that he was very pleased with progress so far. He also said that there were a couple more new players to be announced in due course. As for his own playing future, he said that he could not see himself playing as many games as last season as the younger lads need to be brought through and he is not getting any younger.

The event was a great success and Neil Morris complimented Sales Manager Jonathan Martin and his staff for an outstanding afternoon.

Press Officer Jim Piper caught up with Jonathan at the end of the event, who commented:

“It was a pleasure to host such a great bunch of people at our Casino. I think it went very well and some said they would definitely be back to sample our business. We are really pleased to be on board with Phoenix for the coming season and I am sure we can be beneficial to each other.”

Club captain Luke Boothroyd put pen to paper for his seventh season with Phoenix. The 27 year old Huddersfield-born defender has a reputation of being Mr Cool on the ice and his steady influence has meant that he has been club captain for six of those seven seasons.

Luke played in the English under 19 league in 2002 for Bradford Junior Bulldogs and moved to Hull Stingrays, then a British National League team, where he also iced for the Kingston Predators in the under 19 league. Luke stayed in Hull for the next four seasons, in which time he was selected for Great Britain at under 18 and under 20 levels and for the GB senior side in 2007. He moved to Manchester in 2008 and has been an ever present in the team since then. Luke was also selected for the GB senior side in 2012 at the World Championships.

Known as a steady stay at home defender, Luke broke away from his defensive shackles in 2012 when he scored a career-high 13 goals. He has now played 296 games for Phoenix, including 54 in the Elite League in the club’s last season in that competition. In his time at Phoenix Luke has picked up 2 English Premier League champions medals and an EPL Playoff Champions medal to add to his Junior Bronze and Gold medals when representing Great Britain in the World Junior Championships.

Luke said on Phoenix TV at the Grosvenor event:

“It is great to be back to try and retain our championship. Phoenix are a great club to play for and the fans are second to none in the league. It looks like Tony has recruited another formidable squad and I can’t wait for September.”

Coach Tony Hand commented: “Luke is a natural leader and he played a major part in our championship winning season last time out. It is great to have him back on board.”

Phoenix are also proud to announce the return of James Archer for another season.

James, a 25 year old Sheffield lad, first came to notice in 2003 when he iced for the Peterborough Phantoms in his first EPL game. He stayed at Peterborough for a further 3 seasons before splitting the 2007-08 season between Sheffield Scimitars, Peterborough Phantoms and Coventry Blaze, the latter being in the Elite League. The 2008-09 season was spent at Milton Keynes before he returned to Yorkshire and iced for the Scimitars and Hull Stingrays in the Elite League. James moved across the Pennines in 2010-11 when he signed for Phoenix and was an ever present for the club in their first championship winning season yet still found time to play three games for Hull Stingrays. James was given the “A” armband the following season and has missed only 6 games since then.

James has represented Great Britain at under 18 and 20 levels in the World Junior Championships and picked up two gold medals. He has also recently represented GB in the World In-Line Championships in the Czech Republic. He has won two EPL Championship medals, an EPL Play off Championship medal, two Elite League Championship medals and an Elite Knock Out Cup Winners medal.  Although only 25, James is considered an EPL veteran with 454 league appearances in the competition.

James had this to say on Phoenix TV at last Sunday’s event:

“I am pleased to be back. To be honest I never considered playing anywhere else. We will have another competitive, entertaining team to step up to the challenge of retaining our title.”

Coach Hand also commented:

”James’ natural enthusiasm is a real asset to the team. A good “A” who takes his responsibilities very seriously and is superb in the locker room. It is good to have him back in Phoenix colours for the coming season.”

Luke Boothroyd lifts the trophy!

Captain Luke - wants to retain the championship.
(Image: Richard Amor Allan)

James Archer 2013/14 Champions Home League Shirt

James Archer - never considered signing for another team.

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