Coventry Blaze head coach Danny Stewart revealed his delight at keeping hold of netminder CJ Motte and staving off interest from elsewhere.
The American is back at the Skydome for another season after an impressive half a campaign that saw him finish 2019/20 as, statistically, the league’s best goalie.
But Stewart couldn’t speak highly enough of a player who made such a big impact on them in 24 league games, 15 of them he won while between the pipes.
“I’m sure the fans will be thrilled with this news,” Stewart beamed. “It goes without saying there had been a lot interest in CJ from within our league and around Europe.
“We’re really pleased to have got a deal done and know that he is as committed to us as we are to him.
“He came in last season and completed our puzzle. It’s a cliché, but he truly gave us a chance to win every night.
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“The consistency that he brought, with the level he played at, created another level of belief from the guys playing in front of him.
“Behind the scenes CJ is a great pro and competitor. He works to get better every day and he wants to win at all costs.
“His will to win and attention to detail is infectious in the room. Getting him back gives us the best chance to build on last season and compete with anybody.”
Motte signed in December from HC Innsbruck in Austria, replacing Jamie Phillips and recorded 92.68% save percentage lead, helping the Blaze to third place before the COVID pandemic ended the campaign.
He kept three shut-outs and was named in the fans first EIHL All-Star team and Motte reckons there’s some unfinished business as he looked ahead to a new season.
Motte said: “I’m really excited to return to Coventry. We have a good group of guys coming back and I enjoyed Danny as a coach so that made my decision easier to come back.
“I think there’s a feeling of unfinished business so I’m looking forward to coming back and continuing what we had going.”