EIHL Signing Update: Whistle blown on Sheffield duo

Jackson Whistle has swapped Sheffield Steelers for Nottingham Panthers (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

With the season just a matter of weeks away now, the recruitment side of things looks to be heading to a conclusion for most clubs as we head into August.

Probably the biggest move of the week is the news that Jackson Whistle has moved to Nottingham Panthers from rivals Sheffield Steelers after failing to agree terms for the new season.

The GB netminder has made the switch, joining Steelers team-mate Mark Matheson at Tim Wallace’s team in one of the more interesting moves of the summer so far.

Panthers Director of Hockey Guillaume Doucet admits Whistle will come in to back up Kevin Carr, but will get his chance.

“He’s coming in to back-up Kevin Carr but as a genuine starter in this league he’ll be chomping at the bit for ice-time and that internal competition can only be good for us throughout the season,” he said.

“We’ll really see the benefit of a British netminder like Jackson, who’s capable of starting big games, in competitions like the Continental Cup where we have three games in three nights. We can’t wait to see Jackson in black and gold come August.”

Whistle’s brother, Brandon, also left Steelers for an as yet unknown destination, but coming in for Aaron Fox’s men is Martin St Pierre, who gave Steelers fans the wow factor when his signing was announced.

Martin St Pierre’s signing gave Sheffield Steelers fans the wow factor (PHOTO: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The highly experienced forward, with games in the AHL, NHL and the KHL on his resume joins from Kunlun Red Star, the Chinese side in the KHL and revealed his prior relationship with Fox was a huge factor in his move.

He said: “Aaron was the guy who took me to the KHL. The hockey world is a small one so when he reached out to me this summer I was immediately interested. We had remained in touch and had a good relationship, my agent also knew Aaron so the deal wasn’t a difficult one.”

Cardiff Devils have also been busy over the last seven days with no fewer than six players committing to Andrew Lord’s side for the new campaign.

The only new face to come in is Sean McMonagle, an Italian international, arriving from Frisk Asker in Norway and a player long coveted by the Devils management team.

Coach Andrew Lord explained: “Sean was one of the first players we ever approached as an organisation when the owners took over and I’ve talked to him every summer since. I’m super excited we’ve finally gotten McMonagle on board as he will bring a lot to our team on and off the ice.

“We’ve built a great relationship and he also knows (Blair) Riley and (Matt) Pope well and everyone speaks highly about his character.”

Returning to the play-off champions are netminders Jordan Lawday and Thomas Murdy, while Sean Bentivoglio, Toms Rutkis and Bryce Reddick, with arguably the best announcement video of the summer (see below) also confirmed their returns.

At the champions, it’s one in and one out as Patrick Dwyer confirmed he would be leaving Belfast Giants and head into retirement, where he’s taken up the role of assistant coach at Charlotte Checkers, an affiliate team to NHL side Carolina Hurricanes.

Coming in is 21-year-old Liam Morgan, who comes to the Elite League from Union College, the team who won the 2018 Friendship Four competition, which was held in Belfast.

Nottingham Panthers added two forwards to their new-look line-up as Swedish pair William Quist and Jens Jakobs both arrived from Herlev Eagles and Almtuna IS respectively.

But one query answered is the news that outgoing Robert Farmer is being reunited with former coach Corey Neilson at DEL2 side Lausitzer Fuchse.

Dundee Stars and Manchester Storm added two players each in the course of the last week or so, with Omar Pacha brining in defenceman Jagger Dirk from Kalamazoo Wings from the ECHL.

Then he added to it as Latvian forward Egils Kalns from Liepaja, taking Dundee’s roster to 16 as we head into the final weeks of the summer.

Ned Lukacevic has returned to the Elite League to join Manchester Storm (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

Returning to the Elite League is former Fife Flyers, Edinburgh Capitals and Coventry Blaze forward Ned Lukacevic, who has signed for Manchester Storm.

British Ice Hockey spoke to Lukacevic earlier this week, where he admits he has a point to prove.  Check out the full story here.

Ryan Finnerty also added to his team with defenceman John Negrin, who played for MAC Budapest last season and has over 250 appearances of experience in the AHL and a brief stint in the NHL with Calgary Flames.

He then followed it up by announcing the capture of Tyson Fawcett, a 26-year-old centre who spent last season in the ECHL with Jacksonville Icemen, Reading Royals and Atlanta Gladiators.

Two other players confirmed their return to their respective clubs as Mike Will signed on for a fourth year with Guildford Flames, while Matt Haywood was the last player to be added to the Glasgow Clan roster for the new season, completing their line-up.

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