Sheffield Steelers have added offensive defenceman Jim Jorgensen to their ranks after plundering him from Elite League rivals Braehead Clan.
Coach Ryan Finnerty signed the American even though they had Rod Sarich and Matt Stephenson in that role last season - so the appointment could be seen as insurance in the case of Stephenson, who is being tracked by French team, possibly Diables Rouges du Briançon.
In his debut season in British hockey Jorgensen, aged 26, was something of a revellation, scoring 15 goals and 32 points (47 pts) in 54 games.
In the previous year, he played in the same team (Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, Central Hockey League) as John DeCaro, the Sheffield goalie who has now signed for a Norwegian side.
Asked why he chose Sheffield, the 5ft 10ins d-man, who hails from Michigan, told The Star: “Sheffield offered me an MBA (master’s degree in business administration) and that is something I have always wanted to do. The club has a long tradition of winning and I have heard nothing but good things about it.” Jorgensen said he’d originally arrived in the UK “hoping to put points up” from his position on the blue line. “I found the style of play suits me. Last year I played with some pretty good players and that helped me. Defence comes first but if the opportunity presents itself to jump up in the play I take it.”
Jorgensen was picked as EIHL Player of the Festive season, for his performances over Christmas, a patch which included a 4-1 win at Belfast.
Steelers’ raid on Clan might not end with Jorgensen. Finnerty has expressed an interest in league top scorer Jade Galbraith, who is known as a larger than life character off the ice.
Finnerty told The Star: “Jade is a good example of a player who wants to win. The League is the big prize here and he wants to win it. Could I work with him? You cannot argue with what he does. He isn’t a player satisfied with putting eight past Edinburgh Capitals, he shows up at Nottingham and Belfast.”
Generally, Finnery said: “Sometimes off-ice personality is only one, single factor, you take the good with the bad.
“I wouldn’t mind the odd sleepless night if a player delivers a point a game.”
Galbraith did better than that at Braehead last season, he scored 95 pts in 54 games. In his previous three seasons with Nottingham, he scored 229 points in 157 games.
n Great Britain crashed to a 5-0 defeat against Japan in their fourth game at the 2012 World Championship.
GB lost their first two matches to hosts Slovenia and Austria, but bounced back to beat Ukraine in overtime on Wednesday.
Head coach Tony Hand said: “We were beaten by the better team. They were clinical in front of the net and are the fastest team in the tournament.
“They beat Austria had put them on a high and you could see that with their confidence. It was a tough game and we weren’t at our best. We can’t focus on other teams and their results now. All we can do is focus on beating Hungary in our last game.”