Hand agrees further two years with Phoenix

Manchester Phoenix have confirmed Head Coach Tony Hand has agreed a further two years with the EPL club.

Phoenix endured a difficult 2015/16 season, finishing eighth in the league and losing in the play-off quarter-final against Basingstoke Bison, but Hand says is he is already looking forward to the future.

“It’s been the toughest season of my career, in terms of the challenges we’ve faced both on and off the ice,” said Hand.

“I have to give Neil (Morris), the players and supporters a huge amount of credit in being able to get through the season, and in reaching the play-offs.

“For such a small squad, we’ve faced a particularly high number of injuries, and coming up against the best team in the league in the play-offs with just two lines at some stages was always going to be difficult.

“I’m proud with the way we competed all year and it’s a great base to build on for next season.

“I’m excited about the future of the club under Neil’s leadership – most people don’t see what goes on behind the scenes but Neil is completely dedicated to ensuring this club is successful and has a legacy for years to come.

“For me this is the busiest time of the year. I’ve been speaking with several players, and some have already agreed in principle to return.

“We need more depth in terms of British players, and I hope our new rink will entice players to the club.”

Hand will be without the services of Mark Thomas next season following the Great Britain defenseman’s retirement, but he was quick to pay tribute to his contribution to the game.

“Mark has been a great servant to British Ice Hockey, but not only that he’s a great person to be around.

“I always look at how players conduct themselves off the ice and Mark has been the complete professional for many years.”

(Image permission: Richard Amor Allan)

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