Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov believes he has captured two fine players in one.
The city club have snapped up former Great Britain international Leigh Jamieson for their National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division One South debut season.
The 31 year-old has spent the last eight seasons with Phantoms’ fiercest rivals, Milton Keynes.
He helped Lightning - his hometown club where he also started his career - to an honours double in what proved to be the final English Premier League campaign.
Jamieson also has vast experience at the highest level after playing in six full Elite League campaigns. He spent five of those in Belfast and also represented Coventry.
“I wanted to bring in a player who has experience of playing in big games and winning trophies,” said Koulikov. “And ‘Jamo’ is that guy.
“He has spent his whole career in top teams in the Elite League and the EPL, and has also played for his country.
“That pedigree and knowledge will be invaluable to us as we try to have success in a new league. Leigh is big and strong, and playing in our rink will definitely suit him.”
Jamieson spent the vast majority of his career playing as a forward, but he has been turned into a prolific defenceman by MK coach Pete Russell in the past two seasons.
Koulikov admits he is yet to settle on where exactly Jamieson will line-up in a Phantoms jersey.
“All I know at this moment in time is we have someone who can do well in both positions, and also play a big part on the special times” added Koulikov. “I’m just looking forward to working with him and the other guys.”
Local lad James White is expected to become the next confirmed member of Phantoms’ roster for next season. The speedy 20 year-old forward is a product of the club’s junior system and has established himself at senior level in the last couple of years.
Two players who won’t feature in Phantoms’ plans for next season are powerful forward Eddie Bebris and defensive prospect Thomas Stubley. Both men have left Planet Ice following the club’s switch into the NIHL.
“It’s disappointing to lose two guys who we hoped would be back until the structure of the sport changed,” continued Koulikov. “Tom is a young prospect who I think highly of, while Eddie is a top-end player who did very well after coming back to the club for the final part of last season.”