Sheffield Steelers have confirmed the signing of forward Ryan Hayes from Edinburgh Capitals.
Hayes has enjoyed a productive first season in the Elite League, scoring 25 goals and 28 assists from 41 games.
Steelers’ boss Paul Thompson said: “This move came about late last night. It’s not every day the league’s top goalscorer becomes available.
“There’s lots of hockey still to play and we still don’t know how long Colton Fretter will be out of the line-up. We won’t take any risks on his return, so the chance to sign Ryan came at just the right time.”
Hayes joined the Capitals in the summer after spending last season in the ECHL with Stockton Thunder and Utah Grizzlies.
He said: “I’m thankful to the Capitals for the opportunity to play in Edinburgh, but I’m also very excited to be joining the Steelers. They are a club with a winning tradition and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.
“I enjoyed my time in Edinburgh, but the time was right for both club and player for us to part and move on. I wish the Caps well and thank them but these are new times for us both.”
Edinburgh’s owner Scott Neil added: “It became clear that Ryan was becoming increasingly unsettled and with a number of alternative options being provided to him, the club did not want to prevent him from taking any further opportunities going forward.
“Ryan has had a number of offers over the last two months and has stuck with us, but with the season heading towards a completion, I think he wanted an opportunity to be challenging for silverware.
“It is never easy to lose a top player but considering all the circumstances, I believe we have done the best for the club and the player. The team will be looking into replacement player options immediately.”
(Image permission: Edinburgh Capitals)