Rylan Galiardi’s European debut season ended in heartbreak today.
The American centreman, 27, was described as “desperate to have a big year” by coach Doug Christiansen, when he signed him for Sheffield Steelers in September. Yet he failed to tick all the boxes and has been released - as exclusively forecast in The Star yesterday.
While Galiardi’s points total - in 12 games he notched two goals and seven assists - wasn’t disastrous, it was the least impressive of all the import forwards. The recruitment of exciting duo Nate DiCasmirro and Rob Sirianni was the final nail in his coffin.
Christiansen said: “As a result of the influx in players from our recent injuries, I have decided to give Rylan his two weeks notice. Galiardi did everything we asked, however, we needed to make a change.”
The player-traffic has not stopped there. Steelers have taken on sacked Cardiff Devils’ wing Phil Hill, who played for Sheffield in 2006-7 season, alongside the likes of Ryan Finnerty and Dan Tessier. He is on a month’s try-out - which may put the pressure on Aaron Nell who, in some games, hasn’t had a lot of ice time.
Hill will be available tonight as Steelers visit Fife Flyers, and will play at the Arena tomorrow against Belfast Giants.
Also in the line-up will be Dustin Kohn, who has been out for five weeks with ankle issues.
“Dustin is a great player and we have missed him dearly” said Christinasen. “Our D-corp has been decimated by injuries and a suspension. Out of our first 13 games, Chad Langlais has missed seven games, Kohn five, Danny Meyers six and now (suspended) Gord Baldwin will miss the next five. Having Kohn back in the line-up is a massive boost. He will improve our special teams. We signed our D to be the strength of our team and it’s a testament to our depth that we have withstood the bad luck of the first six weeks.”
*Belfast Giants forward Adam Keefe has been handed a four-match ban following an incident in his side’s match at Cardiff Devils on Thursday.
An Elite League statement read: “Keefe was assessed a match penalty for checking to the head in the second period (27:43) but, after a review by head of discipline Moray Hanson, this has been changed to a match penalty for charging.
Hanson said: “After consulation with the match officials and after studying the game tape at great length, I have come to the follow conclusions.
“The total suspension handed out to Keefe is four matches because of the distance he traveled, the very dangerous action which was unnecessary and the violent check on his opponent, causing an injury which could have been avoided.”
Keefe will miss the following games:
1) Sheffield Steelers v Belfast Giants – 20th October 2013
2) Belfast Giants v Nottingham Panthers – 25th October 2013
3) Braehead Clan v Belfast Giants – 26th October 2013
4) Belfast Giants v Cardiff Devils – 2nd November 2013.”