Panthers sign Benedict and also have Champagne on Ice!

Panthers forward roster is complete as both widely rumoured target Brandon Benedict and another new import forward Scott Champagne were announced by the club tonight [Panthers website release].
Champagne (cool name, the marketing potential is enormous) joins from Asian League Champions Tohuku Free Blades, where he scored 13+35 for 48 points and 81 PIMs in 40 games. [Elite Prospects career stats]

Champagne is described as a bubbly character, at his best when on ice and of a decent vintage who is hoping to Cava out a career in Britain (OK, I’ll stop now).

Centre Benedict, also 28, enjoyed two seasons in Belfast, winning the Play-Offs in 2010 and producing total stats of 27+72 and 64 PIMs from 82 games [Career Stats on Elite Prospects] and despite having spells out with injury in both seasons with the Giants, he was regarded as one of the hardest working players on their roster.

Both players played together for Texas Wildcatters in the ECHL in 2007/08 and also in Denmark for Hvidovre the following season, so they both should be well aware of how each other plays.

Coach Corey Neilson said of his double capture “I’ve long been a big admirer of Brandon, he’s the epitome of a hard-working forward, who works every square inch of the ice, and he is a natural leader.
I’ve heard good things about Scott too. He likes to pass first and shoot second. His past coaches are all big fans and they say if he’s on a breakaway he always looks to dish it off to a team mate. He skates well and has good skills but in a nutshell he’s a passer.”

The double signing means that Jade Galbraith’s three season stint in Nottingham is over. A flawed genius, his departure will no doubt be met with much debate and all of us here at TCW would like to wish him well in his future career.

With just one defenceman left to sign we will soon know the make-up of the 2011/12 Nottingham Panthers. Some may say that we are revealing our hand too early, but as long as we are challenging for honours throughout the season, who really cares?

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