NIHL National Signing Update: Steeldogs get busy for new season

Reece Cochrane has joined Sheffield Steeldogs from Fife Flyers (PHOTO: Jillian McFarlane)

The new competitive season in the NIHL National may not be for seven weeks, but some of the teams have been keeping busy building their teams in the last week or so.

Sheffield Steeldogs, in particular have been strengthening as they look ahead to the new campaign, adding six to their line-up.

Reece Cochrane was the first of those, swapping life at Fife Flyers to drop down a league and seek more ice time with the Steeldogs.

It was something that Steeldogs coach Ben Morgan seized upon, revealing co-owner Ali Cree has been keeping his eye on Scottish talent.

“Ali has spoken to a few people north of the border, keeping an eye on British talent that we weren’t getting to see through our own games,” he said.

“Reece was on our radar and when we heard he was interested in moving to England, we got in touch. We knew he wanted to get into our league to develop and increase his ice time and opportunities, hopefully looking to move to the Elite League when he’s ready.

“He is still developing his game, his play and his style. He has fantastic promise having played for both GB under 18s and under 20s this year. I watched him in the recent Scotland v England match and he was one of the stand out players in that game.”

Morgan didn’t stop there as the club announced the double signing of Czech Republic pair Vladimir Luka from Polish side Zaglebie Sosnowiec and Jan Danecek, who also came from Poland, joining from Unia Oswiecim.

Craig Elliott was another new face to come in from Sutton Sting before the announcement that Sheffield Steelers pair Alex Graham and Jordan Griffin would be part of the Steeldogs line-up, following the announcement of the link-up with their EIHL counterparts.

Staying in Yorkshire, Leeds Chiefs added Steven Moore to their side for the new season, bringing in a player who has been a main part of Martin Grubb’s Solway Sharks team for the last seven seasons.

The Scot, from Ayr, registered 45 points in 36 games for the Dumfries outfit, making it eight confirmed signings for Sam Zajac’s side so far.

Leeds bolstered their ranks further prior to posting with the news that Ethan Hehir would be joining them from Billingham Stars, where he came through their young ranks.

The 18-year-old also played for Great Britain’s Under 18 side earlier this year and is considered to be a good prospect for the future.

Toms Rutkis and Jordan Lawday had their returns to Cardiff Devils confirmed, but they were immediately snapped up on two-way deals by Swindon Wildcats and Milton Keynes Lightning respectively.

Finally, Welsh teenager Sam Smith was back for a second season with Basingstoke Bison, looking to add to his goal and two assists in 44 appearances in 2018/19.

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