Phoenix sign Stanislav Gron

Tuesday, 21st July 2015

NHL draft pick Stanislav Gron will be a "crucial part of the puzzle" for The Phoenix next season - that's the prediction of Head Coach Tony Hand.

The former New Jersey Devils youngster will be an unknown quantity in the English Premier League, after agreeing to join the two-time league champions.

Gron was selected for the top tier of North American ice hockey in 1997, and eventually earned a call-up to the full NHL squad in 2001.

The 6'2" forward played just one game for the Devils, but Hand expects his experience to be a big part of Manchester's year in Deeside.

He said: "As soon as I started talking to Stanislav, it became clear that he could become an important player for us. He has the kind of experience that I expect will change games.

"I am building a squad to challenge for silverware and make life extremely difficult for other sides. Stanislav is a crucial part of the puzzle for me.

"Even getting close to the NHL draft is a major achievement for any player. I saw that myself, so to bring in someone of his quality is a big achievement for The Phoenix."

Now 36, Gron also has four years of international experience under his belt with Slovakia, as well as three Extraliga titles and two all-star appearances.

Hand added: "I can't wait to see Stanislav on the ice in pre-season training. Our younger players will also benefit from his experience, which is another big plus for me.

"He is a big guy, but also very skilful on the puck. Getting that combination of attributes can be difficult, but he's got it absolutely nailed down.

"With Stanislav coming on board, and the other players I am talking to, The Phoenix are going to surprise a lot of people next season.

"I expect he will arguably be one of the best players in the EPL and Elite League next season. He's a bit older, but he has a fantastic pedigree."

Phoenix owner, Neil Morris, believes Gron - who was persuaded to join Manchester after learning of the club's 'Faithful' fans - will play a big part in an "entertaining" year.

He said: "This guy will be great for our team, and is the sort of player that will bring a lot to every single game.

"My brief to Tony this year is we need a team that plays exciting hockey and entertains more than ever, while we build our new home.

"I believe that what Tony is doing in the background is going to surpass our expectations this season.

"Seeing Mr Kovar and Mr Gron in action together in Manchester colours will be very exciting. Tony has yet to reveal his other two gems he will bring in from overseas.

"Welcome to The Phoenix, Stan The Man!"

Stanislav Gron

Stanislav Gron

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