Buckman is back on the bench as Phantoms coach

Jason Buckman reacts after taking a high stick to the face from Lewis Hook of Milton Keynes.
Jason Buckman reacts after taking a high stick to the face from Lewis Hook of Milton Keynes.

The new-look Phantoms coaching staff for 2016/17 will feature a recently-retired player and a man based on the other side of the Atlantic.

Slava Koulikov has handed popular Peterborough stalwart Jason Buckman, who called time on his playing days at the end of last season, the role of defensive coach.

The 37 year-old made 501 appearances for senior city teams in an on-ice career that spanned 20 years and will now continue his involvement from the bench.

Koulikov said: “Jason will be my defensive coach and responsible for that group of players.

“He played as a defenceman for a lot of his career and hopefully he can pass on his knowledge and experience to our current core of ‘D’ guys.

“He has made no secret of the fact that he would like to go down the coaching route now he has hung up his skates.

“He is a local guy with a lot of passion for the club. His heart is always in the right place and I’m pleased to be able to give him this opportunity.”

Koulikov will continue to work with Lee Elias even though the American is due to return to his homeland next month.

Elias has been an instrumental figure in the club’s rise out of the English Premier League doldrums in recent seasons while holding the position of development coach.

And he will continue to have an input despite now being thousands of miles away.

Koulikov added: “Lee obviously won’t be around on a regular basis anymore, but he feels he can still help us around his schedule back in America.

“We intend to use him as an analyst who can study videos of games and identify things that need to be worked on.

“Lee has done a great job as development coach and in showing me a different way of understanding certain aspects of coaching.

“He sees the game one way, I see it another way and we have employed the best parts of both of those standpoints to be successful.”

Strength and conditioning expert Stuart Edwards will also be part of the Phantoms set-up.

Edwards has developed strong links with the city club after being involved in their pre-season training camp ahead of last season.

He will again work with Koulikov’s roster in the build-up to the new campaign.

Koulikov continued: “Stuart is a great guy and the results of the two days he laid on before last season were very noticeable.

“He gets a great response from the players and commands respect from them.

“He has designed fitness and nutrition programmes for all our guys to follow during this summer and his attention to detail is very important when we have guys ranging in age from late teens to mid 30s.”

Koulikov’s father, Aleksandr, will not be returning to Planet Ice after assisting his son for large parts of the past two seasons. He now has a coaching position in Ukraine.