This year’s second import has arrived for the Kodiak Melbourne Mustangs with Parker Thomas touching down in the country earlier this week.
Thomas, a native of Winnipeg in Canada, joins American Christian Isackson as internationals on the Mustangs roster for the 2019 AIHL season.
The 26 year-old arrives having recently completed his fifth and final year with theUniversity of Saskatchewan Huskies in Canada’s U Sports collegiate competition.
“I'm very excited to be in Australia,” Thomas said, upon his arrival.
“I've never left North America before this, so I'm looking forward to playing hockey here in Australia but also experiencing what the world has to offer and a different culture.”
Thomas was a veteran presence on his university team this past season, playing a key role on defence while making significant contributions in attack at times.
His efforts helped the Huskies to the top of the Canada West standings before a fourth-place finish in the season-ending University Cup.
Mustangs coach Max Parent said Thomas’ versatility was what made him an attractive recruit.
“The thing with Parker is that he can play both as a forward or d-man very comfortably, he’s got very good skills and is a hard worker too,” Parent said.
“I think he’s going to be a very good player for us and a great fit for this group with his flexibility to play at both ends of the ice.”
Thomas said his decision to spend a year playing in Australia was based on the positive experiences several of his friends have had here.
“I haven't seen any of the AIHL but have had a couple of buddies who have played in previous years and they said nothing but good things about the experience,” he said.
“One of my good friends from back home is living here for the year and Melbourne has always been on my bucket list of places to visit.”
Meanwhile, the Mustangs have also been dealt a blow on the import front with Travis Fullerton no longer heading down under, due to commitments with the Guilford Flames in England.
However, Parent said the form of first-year Mustang, New Zealander Jaden Pine-Murphy, made Fullerton’s scratching easier to take.
“The news about Travis was a big shock as we had locked him in early on for 2019 after discussions the year before,” Parent said.
“On the bright side we can see from the beginning of the season that Jaden is a very capable goalie.
“He’s in very good form, playing well and meshing with the group really well…the guys love him.
“It certainly makes a loss like that a lot easier, when you have a very good local goalie you can rely on as your starter.
Having arrived ahead of the bye week, Parker Thomas will have a week and half to get to know his teammates and prepare for his first game, a derby clash against the Melbourne Ice next Friday.
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