This Week: 6th January

It has been a momentous week. A week in which none of us has known what announcements will be when. That of course that could be referring to the NHL or to Scott Champagne’s move to the Sheffield Steelers.

With a Nod and a Wink – The merry-go-round of transfers in British ice hockey continued this week. After a Colin Shields quit the Sheffield Steelers to promptly join the Belfast Giants Scott Champagne did the reverse. The Canadian joining the Steelers as announced in the Yorkshire Post last week. This all sparked rumours and dismay that the whole think had been orchestrated and may has well have been called a trade. But whilst it all does sound a bit like Ryan Finnerty and Doug Christiansen saw an opportunity and took those that think it was under handed may need to look around. At the same time as the Canadian’s move, Estonian Dmitri Rodin left the Telford Tigers and promptly became the Hull Stingrays new defenseman.

The Estonian is now in his third club this season. Rodin left the Stingrays in the summer and signed for the Sheffield Steeldogs before being released by them and joining the Telford Tigers before quitting them to rejoin the Elite League outfit. It just goes to show that whilst mid season player movement in British hockey is a bit merky at least every club is in the mire.

League Title Race – As we enter the New Year the Panthers may have their fingernail touching that illusive league title but it could all change of course. The Belfast Giants have 2 games in hand over the NIC outfit and have lost fewer games. However 5 overtime and shootout defeats is proving costly at the moment. If the Giants fix that problem in the later half of the season it could be a different story.

Tune in for DAB – Hot shot sniper Davide Alexandre Beauregarde was the other major signing news this week. DAB returns to the Nottingham Panthers after spending the start of the season with the Tulsa Oilers. His arrival means that the Panthers are now carrying two spare imports and it is expected that one player will be leaving probably Kelsey Wilson.

NHLers Head Home – It is almost official the lockout is over. With the NHL and the union agreeing terms and the league season about to start the last remaining NHL players left the UK. Drew Miller was the last man standing as the Detroit Red Wing iced in the somewhat different surroundings of the Fife Flyers Kirkcaldy ice rink for the last time on Sunday night.

Miller had joined Anthony Stewart and Paul Bissonnette in spending their strike time in the UK. Stewart with the Nottingham Panthers and Bissonnette with the Devils both of whom left before Christmas. To his credit Miller stayed to the end but the question now is who is coming into replace them.

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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