Blaz from the past back again

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DESPITE unprecedented competition between English Premier League clubs to secure key players this summer, MK Lightning have been able to complete the signing of one of British ice hockey’s best goal scorers.

Lightning moved quickly to secure the services of Slovenian Blaz Emersic within days of him leaving Slough Jets in January, helping bolster an injury-depleted side with a wealth of experience gained in the Elite and Premier League as well as the US and Europe. And now they have secured his services for the 2011/12 season too.

Blaz played junior hockey in his native Slovenia before moving to the US at the age of just 19, where he stayed for six seasons. In 2005 he signed for Nottingham Panthers, then a year later moved to Slough Jets where he remained until joining Lightning in January this year.

He made an immediate impact, scoring 39 points in 28 games and two goals in the team’s play-off campaign. Emersic said the club’s ambitious outlook made the decision to stay an easy one.

He said: “Everyone here has made me feel at home and Lightning always challenge for trophies, so it was a no-brainer!

“I want to thank the management for bringing me back – I’m really excited about how the team is shaping up and I hope we can bring some silverware to MK – our supporters deserve nothing less for standing by us even when things were difficult.”

Nick Poole, Lightning’s head coach, said he believes a more settled forward line next season will bring out the best in Emersic.

He said: “We were thrilled to get the opportunity to sign Blaz when he became available last January and he repaid that to us immediately by helping us go on a seven-game winning run.

“He was outstanding in the final four games of the season and we believe that playing in a settled MK side next season we will see an even more dominant player.

“Blaz is a real team player and is more than happy to forego personal glory to help the team achieve.

“We have a very tightly-knit team here but Blaz has settled in very well and will be a key player in helping us fight for trophies next season.”