Phoenix look north for new blood, and favourite Duggan returns

WELCOME BACK: Phoenix fan favourite Tom Duggan

WELCOME BACK: Phoenix fan favourite Tom Duggan

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EPL ICE HOCKEY: Manchester Phoenix have added two more players to the 2012-13 roster. Norwegian forward Joachim Flaten has signed from his home club Frisk Asker of the Norwegian Elite League and returning for a third season is fan favourite Tom Duggan.

Flaten, aged 25, has been a one club man since he set out on his professional career, playing 10 years for Frisk Asker at Under 19 and senior level. In 2006 he attended Concordia College, playing 25 games in the NCAA.

Flaten has played 255 games in the Norwegian top league, scoring 46 goals and 75 assists. He had a career best season last time out, finishing as his club’s top scorer with 17 goals and 11 assists.

Flaten said: “ I talked to Phil Osear (Cardiff Devils' new goalie), a good friend of mine, and he spoke highly of hockey in the UK. So I sat down with my agent and said I wanted to play in the UK. I had a talk with Tony and after that it was a no brainer to sign with Manchester.

"First impressions of the Phoenix are that they are a serious organisation and looking to win the league next year. I’m a really hard working player & want to be the hardest working in the league. I have a good shot and hope to show that off next season in the league.”

Coach Hand said: “The lad has a good all round game and extensive experience in a very good hockey league and will do well in the EPL. He was top scorer in his team, despite them having a poor season. His club wanted him back as captain for next season, showing his leadership qualities too. There were a couple of Elite clubs chasing his signature but the chance of study at the University of Bolton was a big factor.”

Tom Duggan, aged 22, had a breakout year last season, picking up 26 goals and 27 assists as he played a major part in Phoenix’s run to second place in the league and the play off final.

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Duggan has iced 200 games in the EPL for Bracknell, Guildford and Phoenix, scoring 69 goals and 81 assists along with 150 penalty minutes. He has also represented Team GB in the World Junior Championships at under 20 level scoring three goals and four assists in four games.

Duggan said: "Tony spoke to me at the end of the year and it’s a place I want to be playing. I am really excited and wasn’t a hard decision at all. I like the team from top to bottom, from coaching, my team mates, physios and fans. It’s a very professional organisation. Its nice to already be comfortable with a team before I even get on the ice.”

Hand said: ”Tom had a good season last time out and I am looking for him to continue his development. He is young and maturing every season. His work ethic is outstanding and he comes to play every shift.”

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