Hutchinson relishing Phoenix challenge

Monday, 3rd July 2006

With his fourth signing in a busy ten-day period, Manchester Phoenix head coach Tony Hand has boosted his roster signing two-way versatility in James Hutchinson.

The Phoenix coach was alerted to the 22-year old and having done the research as to his all-round capability commented, “James has played most of his career on defence but, will play up front this season.” Hand added, “Coaches have told me he’s capable as he skates well and I think this is a role he will enjoy. Knowing he can drop back if needed makes that two-way ability a potential bonus for our team. He’s been part of a successful team in Dundee and played in the Elite League previously, I think he’s a good addition.”

Asked about playing forward as against his customary role on the blueline, Tynemouth-born Hutchinson said, “Tony told me right up front that he wanted me to play forward and I’m happy to do so. He told me he’s talked to some of my former coaches and they said I could do it. So, if he’s got the faith in me to play there then I’ll do my utmost to re-pay that confidence and prove to myself that I can do it.” Laughing he added, “I’ve always thought there was more glory as a forward, now I’ll find out for myself.”

James Hutchinson has shown a ready willingness to travel to further his hockey career as originally from the north-east, he’s played in the Isle of Wight, Basingstoke, Dundee and more recently last season, in Morzine France. He’s also represented Great Britain at Under-18 and Under-20 level and hopes that a return to these shores and the Elite League can help propel him into the full national team. He noted, “I was an assistant captain for both the 18’s and 20’s and I’m sure playing in the Elite League again can help my chances of possibly making the senior squad.”

“France was a great experience for me,” remarked Hutchinson. “Morzine is a ski resort and a great place to live. I really enjoyed it there and the hockey was played at a fast pace. Now though, the chance to play for a coach like Tony is a fantastic opportunity for me. I’m really looking forward to living in a big city, playing for a new team in a new rink – all in all, a new beginning.”


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