Manchester Phoenix have secured the services of forward Liam Chong and utility man Ben Wood for the new season.
Chelmsford-born Chong joined Phoenix last summer from Basingstoke Bison but missed much of the campaign with a wrist injury. After belatedly making his debut after Christmas, the 21-year-old formed a strong third line unit with Richard Bentham and Andy McKinney, scoring six goals and four assists for 10 points in 23 regular season games. He also chipped in an assist in the postseason as Phoenix claimed the EPL Playoff trophy.

In addition to his stint with Basingstoke, Chong has iced for Chelmsford Chieftains and Invicta Dynamos, and represented Great Britain at U18 and U20 levels.

Phoenix player-coach Tony Hand said: “Liam showed lots of promise in his half season last year and I am looking for this to continue. He shows good hands and a great turn of speed and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Wood, meanwhile, has signed up for a sixth season at the Altrincham Ice Dome.

The Macclesfield lad has earned a reputation as a strong all-rounder and his ability to switch between playing forward or defence proved invaluable last season as Phoenix contended with a lengthy injury list.

The 25-year-old missed just one match during the whole league campaign, notching one goal and nine assists for 10 points in 53 matches, his best points total in the English Premier League. He also picked up a Playoff winners medal, playing all four postseason games.

“Ben improves season after season and with him being able to play in defence or upfront, he is a good asset for the club,” Hand said.

“Last season was his best for the club and I have no doubt he will continue to improve.”

By Andy Jowett