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Phoenix sign GB star Russell

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Manchester Phoenix logo Manchester Phoenix have signed former GB under-20s defenceman Benjamin Russell from English Premier League rivals Milton Keynes Lightning.

The youngster arrives in Manchester with a burgeoning reputation that also includes spells with the GB Under-18 set-up, as well as three years in Canada.

Russell will slot straight into a Phoenix defensive line-up that already features Great Britain stalwart Mark Thomas, James Neil and Ben Wood.

Manchester Phoenix Head Coach, Tony Hand, is delighted to have secured the 21-year-old's signature.

He said: "When I found out that Ben was available, I knew straight away that I wanted him here at the Phoenix. To be honest, I am surprised he wasn't signed up by Milton Keynes at the start of the summer.

"He is a hard-working lad who leaves everything on the ice. When we played Milton Keynes last season, I was very impressed by his work-rate. That is precisely the sort of character I want in this team."

Russell, who attended the prestigious Ontario Hockey Academy, played for Ogden Mustangs in 2013, before returning to Milton Keynes a year later.

Hand believes that experience will play a big role in patrolling the Phoenix blue line next season.

He added: "Spending time in North America will have given Benjamin that little bit more pace and vision to help win games for us.

"I can see him going on to become a major feature of our side next season, as we look to win back the EPL title. Building from the back will be crucial, especially with the added firepower of other teams.

"I now have four extremely reliable defenceman to call upon, which gives me the confidence to start looking at other areas of the squad. With the players I am still talking to, it is going to be a very exciting year for this club."

Click here for more information and news from the Manchester Phoenix website

Click here to see the latest Manchester Phoenix roster for the 2015/16 season

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