By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
Manchester Phoenix player coach Tony Hand MBE is to take charge of Great Britain’s Senior Men’s Hockey Team in an announcement made today.
Hand will continue to lead Phoenix as well at the same time as his illustrious new role – his first major tournament as national coach will be the World Championships in Slovenia in April.
Ice Hockey UK – who appointed Hand – will no doubt be impressed by the Scot taking Phoenix to their first league and cup double last season.
He said: “It is an honour and a privilege to coach the National side and I am really looking forward to coaching the best players in Britain. I would like to thank Ice Hockey UK for giving me this great opportunity.”
Hand also thanked Phoenix for allowing him to negotiate with the governing body and had a message for the fans.
He said: “This will be a dual role as I am, as always, fully committed to Manchester Phoenix. “
In a career spanning over 30 years, Hand has amassed more than 4,000 points and is in a class of his own as the top scorer in British Ice Hockey.
Manchester Phoenix MD Neil Morris commented: “This is a fantastic appointment for Tony and the club. When I signed Tony up in 2006, I said then that it would be my best ever signing. How true has that been? This is a great honour for a marvellous player and coach and the club is proud to have the greatest British player of all time on the books.”
Most recently Hand guided Phoenix to a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over arch rivals Sheffield Steeldogs this week.
Phoenix take on Milton Keynes Lightning away tonight and host Bracknell Bees on Monday 2nd at the Ice Dome.