Former Phoenix triallist gets the call

Wednesday, 15th August 2007

Manchester Phoenix have handed a late contract to British forward Nick Whyatt, four years after he trialled for the club in the inaugural season.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand said, "I wanted to bring in a little extra depth if I could and talked with Davey Graham about a couple of British guys. Davey suggested we talk to Nick as he'd coached him previously in Solihull and felt he do a job for us on the third line. I spoke to Nick and he jumped at the chance to join us."

Originally a product of the Nottingham junior system, 23-year old Nick Whyatt has played the last two seasons in the English Premier League with the Solihull Barons and Telford Tigers. Standing over 6ft tall and weighing 170lbs, the left shot wingman described himself as being, "on top of the world," on signing to play for the Phoenix.

"I attended the first Phoenix trials at Blackburn in 2003 and to get the chance to join the club four years later is a great feeling, it hasn't really sunk in yet," he commented. "Obviously I know Davey Graham and I'm really grateful to him for recommending me to Tony Hand, and to be coached by and play for Tony will be an experience in itself. I know Rhys McWilliams from my time at Solihull and I've bumped into Carl Graham before too – literally."

Whyatt will relish the chance to play in the bmibaby Elite League and added, "I can't wait, it'll be interesting to skate out at the NIC against Nottingham as they're my hometown club, but I'm a Manchester player now and winning for Manchester and their supporters is what matters."

The Phoenix move to sign Nick Whyatt was opportune given the news received from Matt Rich that he may not be ready to play until December. Rich returned from holiday earlier in the summer with severe stomach pains subsequently diagnosed as salmonella, and he is still receiving treatment to aid his recovery.

Rich commented, "I'm gutted at missing the pre-season and start of the season. I was hoping to be ready, but the doctors have advised me to rest longer and don't try to rush back to fitness."

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