Sheffield Steelers led the way in signings this week, with SEVEN announcements in one day and perhaps a sign there could be a 2020/21 season in the pipeline.
Six players re-signed for another campaign while there was one new face in a blitz of news not seen by one club as Aaron Fox, the Steelers coach finally made great strides with his preparations.
On the back of the news that Ben O’Connor was leaving the club on Wednesday night, Steelers fans were spoiled as the good news kept on coming.
The day began with Robert Dowd, Davey Phillips, James Bettauer, Cole Shudra and Alex Graham confirmed, but Kieran Brown would be moving on.
Steelers confirmed that Shudra and Graham would be on two-way deals with Steeldogs, but for Graham, that was subject to how he fares in the CHL draft lottery.
A new face was thrown into the mix as Steelers confirmed the signing of promising D-man Sam Jones from Fife Flyers.
Fox said: “It’s a long time being able to give the fans an insight into what this team is going to look like. We’ve created that core group we wanted to bring back from last year and build on what we achieved last year.
“For some, they have unfinished business and the guys will be chomping at the bit to get back at it.”
Cardiff Devils had their own signing news on Friday when they announced the return of Evan Mosey for what will be his third season.
The versatile D-man missed most of last season through a knee injury sustained playing for GB in that memorable game against France in the World Championships in 2019.
He returned to put up seven points in nine games prior to lockdown and will be raring to go for a brand new campaign.
Devils managing director Todd Kelman said: “We really missed Evan last season. He is probably the fastest skater in the league and he plays forward or defence, whatever you need him to.
“That is a real weapon for us. He’s got a great scoring touch as well and he showed that in a short space of time last season.”
Dundee Stars added to their pool as they recaptured defenceman Craig Moore from Scottish rivals Glasgow Clan.
Moore played for the Stars between 2015 and 2017 under Marc LeFebvre before moving to Cardiff Devils followed by spells at Fife Flyers then last season at the Clan.
The 24-year-old told the Stars website: “I had a great time with Dundee previously and I don’t have a bad word to say about my time here, I had a lot of fun and it was a great group of guys in both years.
“The opportunity I had last time I was here was huge, it gave me the chance to play and I am happy to be back and have that opportunity to really compete.
“The Stars have come a long way since I was there and now I want to be a part of the success of the club.”
Fife Flyers, fresh from losing Jones, also suffered a blow when it was announced forward Carlo Finucci would be leaving to join Romanian side Corona Brasov.
The 33-year-old moves on after four years in Scotland after spending a season with Swindon Wildcats prior to his move to Kirkcaldy.
He said in a statement on Twitter: “The amount of messages and tweets I’ve received in the last 24 hours has been overwhelming and just goes to show how big an honour it was to play in front of the Fife Flyers fans.
“I’ve had so many great memories throughout my time in Fife and becoming the all time points leader in the EIHL era is something I am very proud to achieve.”
AROUND THE RINKS
NIHL NATIONAL LEAGUE
- Sam Gospel (NM) re-signs with Leeds Chiefs
- Callum Wells (D) re-signs with Raiders
- As stated above, Sheffield Steelers pair Alex Graham and Cole Shudra have signed two-way deals with Sheffield Steeldogs
- Rio Grinell-Parke (F) returns to MK Lightning for the new season
NIHL 1 SOUTH
- Sam Shone (D) and Olly Shone (F) have both re-signed for Oxford City Stars
- David Miller (F) has joined Streatham from Bracknell Hornets
- Jake Stedman (F) is back with Invicta Dynamos
- Andy Munroe (D) re-signs with Chelmsford Chieftains
- Richard Facey (F) confirms his return to Solent Devils
NIHL 2 SOUTH
- Solomon Smith (D) returns to Haringey Huskies after three seasons away then signs a two-way deal with NIHL 1 South side MK Thunder
- Steven McDonald (D) and Ethan Meldrum (D) both confirm their returns to Kirkcaldy Kestrels