JAN 01] COVENTRY BLAZE NEWS
Blaze Adds New
Grit As Cooper Signs
Blaze have stiffened their creaky defence by signing one of the best
players in the British National League after he walked out on Hull
Cooper left the east coast side after a dispute over pay with
between the players and the club’s owners.
GB defenceman was snapped by Blaze head coach Paul Thompson just a
week before the season’s transfer deadline.
will add some much-needed backbone to the Blaze defence following
three losses in a row and the team has been knocked off the top spot
in the BNL.
the paperwork is completed in time Cooper will make his debut in
Saturday’s game at Guildford and will appear before the home crowd
the following day when Basingstoke comes to Coventry, with face-off
will fill the hole left by the injury to captain Steve Chartrand and
the departure of Craig Chapman.
has signed a contract to keep him at the club at the end of the
played in the same GB world championship team as new team-mate Shaun
Johnson in 2000.
is also no stranger to many of the Blaze team, having learnt his
hockey with the Durham Wasps organisation, as did Johnson, Michael
Tasker and Michael Knights. Furthermore, Cooper played with Hilton
Ruggles at Cardiff.
34-year-old blue-liner broke into the senior Durham team in 1982 at
the age of just 16 and remainied with the Wasps until 1988 when he
and his brother Ian left to join the newly-formed Cardiff Devils.
won promotion to the British Premier League with the Devils, he
returned to the Wasps in 1990 for two more seasons
regarded as the best British defencemen ever, he then returned to
the all conquering Cardiff side of the early nineties for four
extremely successful seasons. With the advent of the Super League in
1996, he moved on to Manchester Storm and has also played for
Newcastle and Nottingham as one of the few British players to
feature in the import-dominated Super League.
class him as, not only the best British defenceman in the country,
but also as possibly the best defenceman of any nationality in the
British National League.
secure his services for the next season-and-a- half is going to be
a huge factor in the success of this hockey team.
adds a little size and physical presence to our defence. I'm very,
very happy to secure the services of Stephen at this time!"
Director, Grant Charman, added:
is a major boost for the team, we have struggled a little since
Craig left and Stevie was injured. That we have been able to get
Stephen's signature despite competition from other clubs is
another sign of the growth of the sport in Coventry.
quality players want to come here and play in this fantastic
arena. We are delighted to have Stephen on board."