Phantoms new signing, Gareth O’Flaherty, gives his thoughts on joining the Phantoms and the keys to success this weekend, as we take on the Swindon Wildcats and the Raiders.
O’Flaherty began the season with the Bracknell Bees, but left the club just over a week ago due to the travel commitments involved, which clashed with his working life away from hockey. He now joins the Phantoms, a club closer to home, on a short-term contract, and is delighted to have signed on the dotted line.
“It feels great to have finally agreed terms with the Phantoms, even if it’s only for a short period of time. I’ve spoken with Slava several times over the past few years and I’m really looking forward to wearing a Phantoms shirt.” O’Flaherty said.
‘Flatsy’ is no stranger to Planet Ice Peterborough, having iced against the Phantoms for a number of different clubs in his career to date. He’s iced for the Manchester Phoenix, Telford Tigers, MK Thunder and the Bees, amongst others, and has played alongside a number of the current Phantoms squad along the way.
O’Flaherty said: “Having played against the team for a while now, I’d say I’m pretty familiar with their identity. I’m expecting to see that first-hand over the next few weeks. Over the years I’ve played with several of the guys, Nortz, Welds, Robbie, Marrsy and McEwen. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the club from them and previous Phantoms players as well.”
And he’s keen to make an impression on the Phantoms staff and fans alike, with the prospect of trying to earn a longer-term deal in the back of his mind.
“My main objective is to make a positive contribution and help out as much as I can over the next two weeks. Obviously, for me, this also serves as a chance to possibly become a more permanent addition to the team, if things go well. Away from the rink I’m currently a secondary school science teacher which is pretty interesting and time consuming, but I still have the desire to play hockey at the highest level I can at this point in time.” Flatsy said.
Gareth’s debut weekend sees the Phantoms travel to the table topping Swindon Wildcats, before his home debut on Sunday against the Raiders. He’s expecting an entertaining weekend and hoping the Phantoms can claim all four points.
“I’m sure this weekend will be a challenge, having experienced both Swindon and Raiders already this year, it’ll be an entertaining weekend. I think if we can keep our feet moving and stay out of the box against Swindon and get in behind London’s defence and move the puck down low, we’ll give ourselves a really good opportunity to gain four points.” Phantoms newest signing said.
O’Flaherty has experienced the Phantoms fans on a number of occasions in his career, but always as an opposing player. He’s excited to step out onto the ice with the backing of the noisy Phantoms.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to play in front of the Phantoms fans this Sunday. I’ve played a lot of games in the rink for opposing teams and the fans have always been loud and created an atmosphere. To be honest, it’ll be a relief to be on their side for once and be backed by their great support.” He said.
If you’d like to travel to Swindon on Saturday (6:15pm face off) to support the Phantoms in their battle with the Wildcats, email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your seat on the team bus. If you can’t make it to the game, full match updates will be found, as always, on the @GoPhantoms Twitter page.
For tickets to O’Flaherty’s home debut on Sunday (5:30pm face off) against the Raiders, click HERE, or purchase your tickets from the Planet Ice Box Office upon arrival to the rink.