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Gareth O'Flaherty looking forward to title push with Phoenix

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Manchester Phoenix logo Gareth O’Flaherty wants to capitalise on his success in winning the Elite League play-offs when he skates out for The Phoenix next season.

The 25-year-old playmaker, who won the end-of-year competition with Coventry Blaze, guested for his new club during last season’s injury crisis.

O’Flaherty’s “surreal” year with Coventry saw him play a part in beating Sheffield Steelers in the play-off final, while also turning out for the club’s NIHL side.

Gareth O’Flaherty. Photo supplied by Manchester PhoenixAnd he is hoping to play a similar role in bringing the English Premier League title back to The Phoenix.

He said: “Last year was pretty surreal for me. I ended up getting a lot of valuable ice time in the Elite League and experienced being part of a play-off winning team.

“I tried to learn as much as I could from coach Webber and the other guys. It was great to see how they conducted themselves, both on and off the ice, and also their work ethic.

“Those experiences are certainly something I want to bring to The Phoenix, along with that winning mentality.”

The Camberley-born star joins a Phoenix side that will play out of Deeside Ice Rink next season, as it awaits the construction of a 3000-seater arena in Manchester city centre.

The prospect of playing out of a brand-new arena is, he admitted, a major draw in making the decision to join Tony Hand’s squad.

“A new rink in the city centre will be huge for both the Phoenix and British ice hockey,” he said.

“I am hoping to become an asset to the team and in the long term, experience playing in that arena.

“I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to play for this club, just because we’re playing in Deeside for a season.”

O’Flaherty is, of course, aware that the chance to play in a new arena will hang on his performances for the Phoenix during the upcoming campaign.

He added: “I would like to be reliable and consistent, create chances for my team-mates and hopefully put up some good numbers.

“I think the league will be competitive, but from what I have seen so far, we’ve got a great chance of winning some silverware.”​

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