Cardiff Devils managing director Todd Kelman has back the departing Gleason Fournier to be a fans favourite for HC Bolzano Foxes after joining them.
The 28-year-old has agreed to move to Italian side, who play in the bet-at-Home League, the predominantly Austrian League.
And Kelman conceded the current predicament of the Elite League is why he’s leaving South Wales, where he’ll come up against former team-mate Ben Bowns, who joined Graz 99ers.
“We were obviously planning to bring Gleason back next season, but with Covid-19 shutting down the league back in March, he decided to wait it out until we could confirm that our season was definitely going ahead,” Kelman said.
“When I told all the guys about the uncertainty surrounding the start date of our league, he started looking around seriously and got a few offers right away.
“I’m glad we kept him for so long, but in these uncertain times I am definitely not surprised that he has been given the opportunity to move on.
“He has been great for us for five seasons and we expect that same level of play to make him a fan favourite with his new club.”
The defenceman made over 250 appearances in his five years at Cardiff, winning two league titles, two play-off crowns and a Challenge Cup and was generally regarded as one of the top D-man in the Elite League.
He’s the latest player to leave Devils in recent weeks, with captain Joey Martin moving to Stavanger Oilers and Bowns’ move to Austria.
And Kelman wished him well amidst the disappointment of seeing him leave.
He added: “Everyone here at the Devils wants to see him succeed and we wish him well.
“‘Fourns’ is an exceptional talent, probably the smoothest skater I have seen play in this league and he combines that with outstanding offensive talent and solid defensive play.”