By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
New Manchester Phoenix signing Jake Nurse is looking to repay the faith Tony Hand has shown in him after being called up from the Trafford Metros.
Nurse has been plucked from the Metros squad to become a full time member of Phoenix’s squad for the 2012/13 English Premier League season.
Twenty-one-year-old Jake – who is a postman when not out on the ice – is determined to make the most of the opportunity.
He said: “I’m made up to get the call up. I’m very proud.”
“I want to impress Tony Hand. I’ve been aiming to make the Phoenix squad for a couple of years now.”
Jake is part of a new look attack for the Altrincham based team. He joins fellow new signings Scott McKenzie and Andy McKinney up front, with several of last season’s forwards – Juraj Faith, Josh Ward and Slava Koulikov – have all left the club.
James Archer and Ciaran Long have returned for another season, while to date no announcements have been made on the futures of Martin Cingel and Tom Duggan.
Timperley-born Jake is aware that he faces stiff competition to ice for Phoenix, and he is looking to learn from his team-mates.
He said: “It’s a big step up from the ENL, definitely. As a result I probably won’t get too much ice time at first. I’ll be looking to pick up what I can from the great players here.”
“My time with Trafford Metros will definitely help. The ENL is one of the best leagues I’ve played in. It’s a very physical league. My coach at Metros, Paul Bayliss, also helped me improve the defensive side of my game.”
Jake may be familiar to some Phoenix supporters – he was called up to the squad to cover for three games last season as the constant injury troubles that plagued their season came to a head.
And after Phoenix narrowly missed out on the league, cup and playoffs last season, Jake has a message for the fans.
“We want to win everything this year – league, cup, War of the Roses, everything. We came so close to all of them last year.”
Follow Steven Oldham on Twitter – @spoldham