SIGNING NEWS: Pliskauskas is coming back for more
Lithuanian international Darius Pliskauskas is back again for Phantoms - and he is being tipped to produce more big numbers.
The 36 year-old hit 40 goals in a total of 76 points last season – his best tallies in his three full seasons to date for the club.
Pliskauskas followed coach Slava Koulikov to city club from Slough in late 2013 and he has agreed to stay for a new era of National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division One South.
He will be one of the club’s two permitted imports along with another returning star, Ales Padelek.
“I am really happy to have Darius back with Phantoms again for this season,” said Koulikov.
“I have enjoyed working with him for a long time and know exactly what he will bring to the team.
“He is a smart and creative hockey player and an excellent finisher who scores and makes goals.
“His experience will be vital for us and I will be leaning on him to put big points up on the board again. I’m sure it’s a responsibility he will thrive on.”
Phantoms’ squad for the new campaign is quickly taking shape. They now have four defencemen and nine forwards confirmed for 2017/18. They are still to sign a netminder following the departure of Latvian star Janis Auzins.
Phantoms have announced they will face Basingstoke in two pre-season clashes for the Billy Glover Memorial Cup over the weekend of September 2/3.
They travel to Hampshire on the Saturday before hosting the Bison at Planet Ice the following night.
Glover, who was a much-loved member of the city’s hockey set-up for many years, died in May.
The NIHL season is expected to begin on the weekend of September 9/10.
Hot prospects Bradley Bowering and Jarvis Hunt will step into the Phantoms fold during next season.
The young pair starred as the club’s Under 15 side to national glory last term - and also excelled at Under 18 level.
Defenceman Bowering and forward Hunt will now train with the senior side and be eligible to play in competitive fixtures once they have turned 16.
“It is great to see two of the top young players in the country move into senior hockey with Phantoms,” said coach Slava Koulikov.
“I’m looking forward to seeing their contributions in practice and then eventually in games.”