Telford Tigers have signed Estonia’s all-time highest international points scorer Andrei Makrov.
The 36-year-old forward agreed terms to join Telford after a lengthy transfer process that narrowly beat the EPL deadline.
In 79 World Championship games with Estonia, Makrov has scored 69 goals and collected 40 assists – a record for his country.
Tigers’ Head Coach Tom Watkins has been tracking the forward for several months and is delighted to have finally got his man.
He said: “I watched Andrei play against GB in Eindhoven last year and he stood out straight away. He’s got a very good skillset and is an excellent offensive player.
“He’s got a good shot, a good first release and is very quick around the net. He adds something that we’ve been missing this season and will put the puck in the net.
“Andrei is five foot nine, but he’s extremely strong and moves laterally very well. He’ll be a great addition to this team.”
Makrov, who arrived in the UK from HK Almaty in Kazakhstan this week, has spent the majority of his career playing in Russia, Belarus and Slovenia.
Watkins added: “I’ve spoken to a lot of people about Andrei and he’s an experienced professional who has been around the game for a long time.
“It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to hockey in this country, but he’ll hopefully help us change a lot of the one-goal games. He’s a natural sniper who will help us on the powerplay.”
Pending international clearance, the Tigers’ new fifth import will slot straight into the squad for this weekend’s games against Hull Pirates and MK Lightning.
“It’s a case of doing what’s best now and making the right decision on the night,” Watkins said.
“If Andrei gives us, as a team, the impetus and kick to turn games around, then he’ll be a really important signing.
“He’ll create some energy and buzz around the fans, so they can make a bit more noise about him. Andrei will be a quality player in this league and make a big difference for us.”
Wayne Scholes, CEO of Tigers’ owners Red Hockey, is looking forward to watching Makrov in action for the Shropshire club.
He said: “We have been talking with Andrei for a long time, so to finally have him here is great news for Telford Tigers. We’ve needed to freshen things up for some time, and he will certainly do that.
“It is common knowledge that I want us to be higher than sixth in the table, and that is why we’ve brought in a fifth import. He’ll fit in very well with our team.
“I’m a big fan, of course, and watching a player of Andrei’s calibre play for Telford is something that excites me. I want the fans to feel that anticipation as well.”
(Image permission: Steve Brodie)