Cardiff Devils defenceman Mark Richardson is the latest player to leave the club as he joins DEL2 side EC Bad Nauheim.
The experienced blue liner is going to Germany for a season in a similar arrangement that should see him return in a year’s time, while the immediate future of the Elite League remains uncertain.
And Devils’ managing director Todd Kelman says Nauheim are getting a player who always strives to improve and will fit right in with coach Hannu Järvenpää’s side.
“Mark is one of the hardest working individuals I have ever worked with and I would put him in the top 5 defencemen in this league for sure,” Kelman said.
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“He continues to get better every season and that is because he is dedicated to his craft. He works to improve every year, all summer long, all season long.
“He’s going to a very solid team with a good reputation and I’m pleased he picked up at this point because rosters are almost all filled by now. We all wish him the best of luck this season in Germany.”
Richardson had made over 900 appearances in the Elite League and has played predominantly in Cardiff, also featuring for Nottingham Panthers and Bracknell Bees as well as a spell with Arlan Kokshateau in Kazahkstan.
He’s also played almost 90 times for GB including the top level of the World Championships last year as well as 18 appearances in the Champions Hockey League.
His departure comes after Gleason Fournier left for Italian side Bolzano Foxes and as Kelman stressed, it will be for a year only.
He added: “This situation is just like Joey Martin taking a year out from the Devils so we aren’t treating this as a sad goodbye.
“Mark is contracted for next season already and he will be back in Cardiff for the 2021-22 season, but with the uncertainty surrounding our start date and the DEL2 being able to offer something now, he had to take it.”
Also leaving the UK for Germany is Nottingham Panthers teenager Joseph Hazeldine, who will reunite with former coach Corey Neilson in the DEL2 at Lausitzer Füchse.
Hazeldine, as well as playing for the Panthers, picked up some valuable experience with Swindon Wildcats, Telford Tigers and Peterborough Phantoms in the last few seasons.
And Panthers’ Director of Hockey Guillaume Doucet says it’s a big move for the youngster, given the current circumstances.
“Joe has gone to play for the Under 23 team which is also under Corey’s remit in Germany,” he said.
“It will do him the power of good to get important ice time which we cannot offer anyone with the way things are at the moment. We look forward to hooking up with Joe again down the road.”