Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov reckons he has snapped up two of the best emerging British talents.
The city club have captured Milton Keynes pair Edward Knaggs and Glenn Billing on two-way deals for the 2017-18 season. Both players are known to Koulikov from his involvement in the Great Britain Under 20 squad.
Knaggs, a 19 year-old defenceman, and 20 year-old forward Billing were members of the Lightning squad that completed an English Premier League title and play-offs double last term.
Knaggs dressed 50 times while Billing appeared on 46 occasions. Now they will boost Phantoms’ challenge for honours in the sport’s new second tier, the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) South Division One, while also continuing to represent MK, who have climbed into the Elite League, when required.
Koulikov said: “I am very happy to have both guys on board. It is essential that young British players are given the ice-time necessary for them to develop alongside training at Elite League level.
“Myself and Pete Russell, the MK coach, share the same views son this and have managed to work out a deal for the best interest of the players.
“They are among the best British prospects in their positions. Glen is a smart, two-way centre who reads the game well and is terrific on the penalty kill, while ‘Knaggsy’ plays with a European style. He’s quick on his feet and good on the puck.
“I have no doubt both guys will play a big part in what we hope will be a successful season.”
Knaggs and Billing join fellow new arrival Nathan Salem, captain James Ferrara and returning import Ales Padelek as confirmed members of the Phantoms roster for next season.
Great Britain international defenceman Tom Norton is expected to be the next familiar face to be welcomed back for 2017-18.
The 26 year-old is one of the leading blue-liners in the second tier of the sport and has played for Phantoms in four previous seasons. He was a member of the play-offs winning side of 2014/15.