One in, one out as Phoenix seek new dimension

EPL ICE HOCKEY:

Manchester Phoenix have made a change to their roster.

Scott McKenzie has left the club to rejoin his former side Telford Tigers, and has been replaced by former Cardiff Devils forward Bari McKenzie.

Scott McKenzie joined the club in the summer from Telford, but has struggled to find the form he showed with his old club. He has iced in all 23 games this season for Phoenix, scoring six goals and eight assists. He will play for Phoenix this weekend then re-join the Telford Tigers.

Coach Tony Hand said: “Scott is a good lad and worked his socks off for the team. However I felt we needed a change and, after talking to him, the upshot was that he would move back to his old club in Telford. The whole squad and myself wish Scott all the best and hope everything works out well for him.”

To fill the gap, Phoenix have signed 26 year old Bari McKenzie. McKenzie arrived in the English Premier League with Milton Keynes Lightning as a 17 year old in 2003. Three seasons, 108 games, 26 goals,18 assists, two league championship medals and three play off winners’ medals later, he moved across the pond for a season with the Restigouche Tigers of New Brunswick in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.

Returning home the following season he played for the Belfast Giants in the Elite League and Chelmsford Chieftains back in the EPL. The next two seasons found him back in his home town, playing for Solway Sharks where he scored an incredible 79 goals and 87 assists. His scoring prowess over these two years got him noticed by Edinburgh Capitals and he joined the Murrayfield club in the 2010-2011 season. He stayed for the following season and was given an assistant captain’s role at the club.

McKenzie moved on at the beginning of this season and signed for Cardiff Devils and scored three goals and seven assists before being released to make way for Mark Richardson’s return to Cardiff from Kazakhstan. Bari has also picked up two gold medals representing Great Britain in the World Championships at under 18 and under 20 levels.

Coach Hand said: “Bari is an experienced player both in the Elite League and the EPL. He will bring a different dimension to the team as we look to get back on track in the chase for the league title.”

Bari McKenzie said: “It was disappointing to leave Cardiff under the circumstances but these things happen in hockey. I had talks with several clubs but when Tony Hand called, I felt that this was the right move for me. Tony had spoken to me in the summer but I committed to the Devils. It felt good to know he was still interested and I have heard only good things about Phoenix so it did not take long to make up my mind to come to Manchester.”

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