THE GIANTS may have lost top slot in Superleague but Huddersfield can already boast a league-winning captain – ice hockey star Luke Boothroyd.
Skelmanthorpe born Boothroyd is skipper of professional team the Manchester Phoenix, who have won the English Premier League title.
The Altrincham-based team clinched the title on the last day of the season with a 5-2 victory over Swindon Wildcats.
But having finished top of the table the Phoenix couldn’t manage a league and championship double after they lost to Milton Keynes Lightning in the play-off semi-final.
Luke, 23, said he was delighted with the team’s and his own achievements this season after playing in 54 games and setting up 12 goals.
He said: “We could have sewn up the title the night before away in Peterborough but we ended up losing, making it a tense finale.
“We needed to win the last game of the year to win the league.
“To win it under that kind of pressure in front of our home fans was a great feeling.
“The fans deserve it as much as the players as they have given us great support both home and away for many seasons and hopefully this is just the start of things to come.
“This season was a great season for the team as it was Manchester Phoenix’s first trophy and my first trophy in my professional career.
“We had our fair share of close games which we managed to graze, edging teams out by the odd goal which is the sign of a winning team.
“We had four top class imports with a good depth of quality and experienced Brits which proved to be a stronger team than the previous year.
“The team’s expectations were to try to win one of the three trophies and to make the playoff finals weekend in Coventry.
“We won the league and made the finals, unfortunately losing out in the semi-finals.
“We also made the semi-finals of the league cup so I would say it was a successful year which surpassed our expectations.”
Coach Tony Hand MBE paid tribute to the former Shelley College pupil’s efforts.
He said: “On the ice, Luke is reliable and dependable every night, and provided a cool presence both on and off the ice for the three years he has been with the team.
“In the dressing room he well respected by his team mates and staff and a great person to have around and I’m extremely glad he is part of the Manchester Phoenix.
“It was great to see the team pick up the trophy and hear the noise of the crowd when Luke raised it above his head.
“It’s a great achievement for the team, fans and organisation and a trophy we are looking to retain next season.”
Luke said he was now resting up and hoping to renew his contract next season.
He added: “I just had a small knee operation so I can’t wait to recover and get back in the gym to prepare for next season.
“I love playing for Manchester.The city, the fans and the organisation are the best in the league by far so I would have no hesitation in returning given the chance.
“It’s Tony’s decision whether he wants me back in Phoenix colours next year”.