By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
Manchester Phoenix have captured Hull Stingrays’ forward Andy McKinney for the forthcoming English Premier League season.
McKinney, who played for Phoenix briefly in the 2009/10 season, has joined the Altrincham based club after being told he was surplus to requirements at Stingrays.
The 21-year-old played in over 40 Elite League games for Stingrays and has also played for Phoenix’s EPL rivals Telford Tigers.
He said: “I spent the last two seasons with bottom end clubs and I wanted a challenge, playing with a bigger club. Of course, no disrespect meant to either Telford or Hull.
“When I found out Hull were not keeping me on, I was really pleased to get a call from Tony Hand. I thought about it over a weekend and decided to sign up. I play a physical game and hopefully I can help Phoenix to some trophies next season.”
Coach Hand said: “Andy will be an excellent addition to the team. He skates well and is not scared to drop the gloves if the situation warrants it. He is a different type of player than we have had previously but I think we now need Andy’s physical type of game on the roster.”
Utility player Ben Wood has also signed up for a fifth season at the Altrincham Ice Dome.
Macclesfield-born Wood can play in both attack and defence and was a member of the 2010/11 EPL Championship winning team.
His versatility was called upon more than once last season due to the seemingly constant injury problems Phoenix endured.
Ben was quoted as saying: ”When Tony asked me to come back, it was a no brainer. The location is perfect, it is a great club with a really good locker room atmosphere. I had no hesitation in coming back for another season.”
Coach Hand said: “Ben had his best season for the club last year. He is an integral part of our squad.”
“He grew in confidence last season and I thought he did very well. His fitness is second to none and his growing maturity has also made him a great asset in the locker room. I am very pleased to have him back.”
These latest announcements bring the number of confirmed squad players to eight, along with new signing Scott McKenzie and the returning James Neil, Ciaran Long, James Archer and Steve Fone. Jake Nurse has been signed up from Phoenix’s sister team, the Trafford Metros.
There has not yet been any news on the futures of several important team members, including captain Luke Boothroyd, Martin Cingel, Ladislav Harabin and Tom Duggan.
Keep your eyes on MM in coming weeks for more news.
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