Adam Long will take over as Phantoms netminder with a glowing endorsement from the legendary player he is succeeding.
The 21 year-old, will be first choice between the pipes as the city side chase glory in National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division One South next season.
And Long is being tipped to be a success by the man he has backed-up for the past couple of years – Janis Auzins.
Auzins said: “Adam has progressed so much in the last two seasons and he has been working hard with me at goalie camps in Latvia this summer.
“I definitely think he is ready to become a number one goalie. I already think he is one of the top five English netminders and this is his big chance to improve by playing regular games.”
Long has also clinched a two-way deal with Milton Keynes, which will see him train with the Elite League newcomers as well as potentially gain top-flight playing time in addition to regular outings in the second tier.
Defenceman Ed Knaggs and forward Glenn Billing are on similar arrangements with Lightning.
Phantoms chief Slava Koulikov said: “Adam’s improvement in his time with us has been outstanding and he has delivered every time we’ve called upon him.
“He has learned a lot from Janis and is now ready to take on the starting role. I know he is up for the challenge.
“Working with Milton Keynes will give him the chance to develop his game to the next level.”
Long iced in 27 games for Phantoms last season after appearing eight times in the previous campaign.
The local lad also enjoyed experience of international hockey when representing Great Britain in the World University Games.
Meanwhile Auzins will be playing his hockey in Kazhakstan next season. After three terrific years in the city, his next destination is Ertis Pavlodar.