Star player Norton takes up coaching role

Tom Norton.
Tom Norton.
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Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov is convinced one of his star players can also be a valuable member of his management team.

Great Britain international defenceman Tom Norton is to combine his playing duties with a coaching role this season.

The 27 year-old will work with his fellow blue-liners as the city club chase success in Division One South of the National Ice Hockey League.

Koulikov said: “I’ve worked with Tom for three full seasons and have always admired him as a player and a person.

“He always handles himself well in all situations, and I feel he can be a great example to the other guys.

“He has the respect of everyone in the locker room and I really think he can benefit the coaching staff as well.

“Tom is our number one defenceman and playing will obviously remain his top priority, but he will combine that with working with the ‘D’ guys.

“It was an idea I had when reviewing last season and looking at ways we could become stronger, and Tom was happy to accept the role.

“While it is down to me to make the final decisions and be accountable for them, I love to have opinions and feedback from a group of people I respect.

“Ice hockey is a game that changes through the generations. Tom is 12 years younger than me and still an active player, so he will provide a fresh insight.”

Jason Buckman will continue to serve as assistant coach, while Lee Elias again has an input into Phantoms matters from his base in North America as team and coaching consultant.

Stu Edwards remains as strength and conditioning coach, Rochelle Owen stays on as sports therapist and Jim Parrish returns as equipment technician after a break.