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Two Minders Are Better Than One

Coventry Blaze have revealed the duo they hope will be putting up the shutters in front of goal next season.

Crowd favourite Barry Hollyhead has been re-signed, and will be joined by 22-year-old Canadian Ian Burt.

Ian Burt, Coventry BlazeBurt comes with a top reputation and statistics from the NCAA Division One university team, Cornell in the USA.

Burt was ranked 4th nationally and was one half of the Big Red's netminding duo known as the "two-headed monster" due to their outstanding performances.

He has been brought in following the failure of Swede Henrik Sjodin to maintain his early season form. A spilled shot in the play-offs against Peterborough summarised his lack of confidence as the pressure increased.

Barry Hollyhead, Coventry BlazeHollyhead, who started last season as the second string netminder, pulled off some excellent performances, and showed himself to be an excellent shot-stopper. But despite earning a late call-up to the GB squad last month, he too showed some lapses, and Blaze coach Paul Thompson knew he had to put more reliability in the Coventry net.

He said:

"Barry is one of the real unsung heroes of this team. He is always ready for us to call on him and will always return a solid, reliable performance.

“There's no fuss about him, he's just a really honest hockey player. I'm really pleased to have him back for next year and I'm sure that it will be another year to build on his growing reputation.

"Barry's elevation to the GB squad at the end of last season may have been a bit of a surprise to some people, but his performances in the second half of the season totally justified his position in that squad.

“I'm sure he enjoyed the trip to Slovenia and came back a better player, and a player that I'm very happy to have back on board."

Thompson has drawn on his encyclopaedic knowledge of the game to sign Burt.

He said:

"Even though Ian is still relatively young, he has played in high pressure games in a very competitive ECAC league and comes from a good hockey programme.

“He has turned down offers from the East Coast League and believes his future lies in Europe.

“I have done a lot of homework on Ian and feel he will be a major acquisition for our team. This is an area we had to strengthen if we are going to improve on last season's campaign - Ian will improve this department of our hockey team - I'm very confident of that!"

Operations director Grant Charman added:

"Barry became one of the fans favourites towards the end of the season with a string of solid games.

"He's a fairly quiet guy but the way he goes about his business is really professional. He's an important part of this hockey team and we are all glad to have him back!

"In addition we can welcome Ian to the Blaze, and he comes highly recommended. His performances at Cornell earned excellent praise from his coaches and I'm sure that he will be a big asset to us."

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CWN / Sport / Ice Hockey / Coventry Blaze / 21 May 01
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