Phantoms have turned to a wizard from Aus
Ice hockey - Sharp-shooting Aussie joins city club
Phantoms are giving a goalscoring wizard from Aus the chance to become a big hit in British hockey. The city club have captured Australian i nternational sharp-shooterWehebeDarge, who touched down in the UK on Monday and trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Tuesday night.
And the 24 year-old forward, who has been prolific for his home city club, Adelaide Adrenaline, in the Australian Ice Hockey League for several years, will go straight into English Premier League battle this weekend - providing his international registration goes through in time.
Dargealsohasampleexperience in North America and sampled European hockey last season whenracking upa half-century of points for Belgian side Chiefs Leuven.
“I’m really excited to have theopportunitytocometothe UK and join Phantoms,” said Darge.“I’mlookingforwardto learning frommyteam-mates and being challenged in the English Premier League.
“I hope the skills I ’ ve gained from playing in Australia, North America and Belgium can help Phantoms to succeed.”
Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov admitted that a shortage of goals in the opening month of the new season convinced himtoboost his attacking options.
The city side have struck 16 times in six games to date. Onlybottomtwo, Manchester and Bracknell, have hit fewer goals.
And while Koulikov has been impressed by Darge’s desire to become a Phantoms player, he insists it will take time for the new recruit to find his feet.
“We feel it is the right time to add another import to our roster,” said Koulikov. “We’re managing less than three goals per game and hopefully the addition of an import can help us score a few more.
“We have been aware of Wehebe for some time, we have received some very good references, andwehaveheard a lot of good things about him as both a player and a person.
“Sure, it is a gamble, but that’s the case whenever you bring in a player from overseas. I’ve seen some video clips of Wehebe in action and his ability to create and score goals is impressive.
“He is very keen to prove himself in the UK and I’m more than happy to have him on board.
“It will take time for him to get match-fit andadjust to being in a newenvironmentthat is thousands of miles away from home, but hopefully he can make an impact for us.”
Phantoms started the new season with four imports – netminder Janis Auzins and forwards Petr Stepanek, Darius Pliskauskas and Ales Padelek.
But clubs in the EPL are permittedtousefiveoverseas players nowandDargewillfill the club’s quota.
Koulikov confirmed no players will be released to accommodate the new capture.
New signing Wehebe Darge.