Lightning strike twice to add Boxill and Phillips
MK Lightning completed a double signing over the weekend to add Paul Phillips and Jonathan Boxill to their Elite League squad.
Boxill swaps Belfast Giants for Lightning and is well known to coach Pete Russell thanks to his team GB exploits down the years.
“I'm extremely excited to be joining the Lightning,” said the 28-year-old centreman. “To be part of the club in their first year in the Elite League is a huge privilege and I’m looking forward to being part of the club’s rich tradition of winning.
"I have heard great things about the rink, the fan base and the town so I’m very much looking forward to getting there in August and being a big part of the team going forward.”
Coach Russell, already familiar with Boxill’s skill set from his GB appearances, added: “I’m delighted to be able to add this forward to our line up for the season ahead. He’s an experienced player and a national team player who brings complete depth to our line up. He skates well, has a decent skill set, strong game sense and leaves everything on the ice.
“Boxy is an energy player who takes complete pride in his defensive game and is a great shut-down guy. He can play anywhere across the front three positions and knows his role. He is a gritty player - you could even say annoying - but that is because of his work rate and desire.
"Another big part of Boxy’s game is the penalty kill: he is strong in this area which will make us stronger as a team. He excels in this area and it's so important to us.
“He had a tough season with injuries and didn't really get going which hurt him as he’s a passionate guy. But he will learn from that experience and he cannot wait to get going with us here at the Lightning.”
Phillips meanwhile joins after spending the last two seasons with Manchester Storm. The former Chicago Blackhawks drafted defenceman said:
“I’m extremely excited to be on board with the Lightning. I’m very grateful for my time in Manchester, but looking forward to a new experience, and making the most of this opportunity in Milton Keynes.
“When the opportunity arose to play for such an established coach with a winning organisation moving to the EIHL, I couldn't pass it up. I look forward to meeting my new teammates, the Lightning fans and continuing my career in the Elite League. I can't wait for the season to start!"
Russell added: "Paul is a quality person and for sure will be a part of our leadership group here in MK. Again I am delighted to have been able to add not just a quality player but a even better person.
“I know his team mates and our supporters are going to love him and I’m delighted to have been able to sign him for our important first Elite League season."