Hammertime as Justin returns for Blaze

Justin Hamonic is back in Coventry colours next season (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

Coventry Blaze coach Danny Stewart believes returning defenceman Justin Hamonic was a big reason behind their success last season.

The Canadian has agreed to return for the next two years, making it six players from the 2019/20 group coming back for another crack at the Elite League.

And Stewart was pleased to tie him down for the next couple of seasons, giving an indication of just how important he was to the Blaze team.

“‘Hammer’ was a big-time reason for our success last season,” the Coventry coach said. “His commitment to the game is as good as anyone I’ve ever seen. 

“He’s in immaculate condition and on the ice a true competitor. As a coaching staff we are as excited to get him back as anybody. 

“He does so many things well. He is one of those intangible guys that falls under the radar sometimes, but very much valued by us.

“His ability to win puck battles, puck races, his skating ability combined with his size and strength, allows us to play with the puck a lot more than without when he’s on the ice. 

“He’s a big part of this club and to get him for two more years is great for everyone involved.”

The 26-year-old appeared 57 times in all competitions last season, picking up 17 points after signing from French side Ducs d’Angers a year ago.

Drew Schiestel’s return to Coventry was confirmed on Friday (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

He’s the second player to return to the Skydome after captain Drew Schiestel put his name to a second season on Friday.

The former Cardiff Devil was a big addition and Stewart paid him a very high compliment when speaking of Schiestel’s signing.

Stewart said: “Getting our Captain back was an integral part in us planning for next season. He’s a huge part of our leadership group that played a big part in our success.

“On the ice Drew is as good a two-way defender as any in the league. For me he’s arguably the most elite skater in the league, which allows him to play a very good 200-foot game.”

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