Phantoms forward Conor Pollard, sponsored by Niro Men’s Clothing, felt the time was right for him to step back up to the Phantoms first team, and is looking forward to another competitive weekend of hockey, against the Basingstoke Bison.
Conor made his Phantoms debut in the 2010/11 season but has featured more for the Phantoms second side due to work commitments.
However, Pollard made the step up from Phantoms 2 over the summer, after captaining the side in the 2018/19 season. He enjoyed a successful point scoring season, with an impressive 32 goals and 26 assists in 28 games last term.
“Earlier on in the year, I’d had a fairly good start with Phantoms2 and every time we didn’t have a game, I’d watch Phantoms1. It was just how much fun the guys were having, and how competitive it was, I wanted to be a part of that. And with my job role changing, I’m more office based and I’m not always out on the road so it’s easier to fit it in around that. I spoke to Slava in March, we had a good chat and he said if I worked hard in the off season, I’d be fine, and I did that. So, it sort of ticked all the boxes.” Conor said.
After making the step up to Phantoms 1, Conor believes it will take a bit of time for him to settle into how the Phantoms operate. But it looks as though he’s taken seamlessly to his new role, with a two-goal game against the Hull Pirates on Sunday.
“It’s different. Last week was a very busy schedule for the team. I’m used to playing once a weekend if that, and maybe the odd training session. So, training two or three times a week and playing three games is a lot to take in in my first week. It’s going to take me a little while to get used to it and the plays Slava sets up, but I’ll get there and hopefully I can keep banging in a couple of goals here and there.” Said Pollard.
Up next for the Phantoms is a double header against the Basingstoke Bison and Pollard believes it will be another tough and testing weekend for Slava Koulikov’s team.
“Every team to me is new. But from watching them last year I know they work really hard. Having Taity as their coach, we know they’ll be well drilled. They’re going to be tough, every game will be tough to play in. The games (between the sides) last season were always only won by one or two goals or in overtime. As a personal thing, just go out there and keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve been set a few targets by Slava so it’s just putting them into play.” Conor said.
“Looking at the changes the league has had, a few teams have dropped down. But it showed last weekend against Hull with both games going to overtime, and I’m expecting every team to be at that level so all the points we can get each weekend will be important.” He concluded.
This year, Conor will be reuniting with his brother Nathan on the Phantoms team. Conor is looking forward to teaming up with his brother again after the pair enjoyed success with the Phantoms second team. Both Pollard brothers were part of the Peterborough Islanders team who won the treble in 2016/17.
“I’m very pleased (to play alongside Nathan again), Nathan has worked me hard in the summer. I spoke to him when I spoke to Slava in March and he was obviously all for it. He said I need to put the work in off the ice first to show the commitments, and he’s helped me a lot. Playing with him will be very good, he does things that I don’t do and I do things that he doesn’t do so I think being on a line together, we can bounce off each other so I’m looking forward to playing alongside Nathan and for the season to start!” Pollard said.
Tickets are available for Sunday’s home match against the Bison, which faces off at 5:30pm. You can purchase them HERE, or from the Planet Ice Box Office upon your arrival on Sunday. For information on how to travel on the team bus to Basingstoke, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.