The six feet three inch frame of Tyler Plante will fill Sheffield Steelers’ net, this coming season.
The 28-year-old former Florida Panthers draft pick clearly has the character to overcome adversity - he spent most of the 2011-13 seasons sitting out as an understudy in Europe and north America and last season suffered a nasty skate injury to his wrist before coming back to lead his team to the postseason playoffs in Norway.
His last two campaigns have been with Lørenskog, where he sustained a 91 per cent save ratio.
Plante, the same height as ex Steeler John DeCaro, is the son of Cam Plante, who backstopped Peterborough Pirates in the 1990s.
“I know it sounds crazy but I am a Steelers fan” said Plante jnr. “I watched my Dad play in Sheffield for the Pirates. I was in awe of the Steelers. The big Arena, the flashing lights and the rock tunes, it was nothing like Peterborough that’s for sure. I thought the Steelers were in the show (NHL) and I guess from then on I’ve always followed them and so when (coach) Paul Thompson got in touch there was an immediate interest. Then my former roommate and a great guy, Mike Duco signed in Sheffield we started talking about being on the same team and from then on it was easy to say yes. I want to play for a team that has a chance to win. I want to hang a banner. I’ve enjoyed my time playing in Italy, Sweden and Norway. Now it’s another challenge.”
Thompson admitted Plante’s resume looked odd initially. “But when I delved into it, and asked around, it was clear this was a quality goalie even if he didn’t play a lot for a couple of seasons. I wanted size, experience and someone who could steal games for us. I like a big goalie who has a large presence. I have done my due diligence and spoken with many of our squad who have played with or against Tyler and the universal message was: ‘Go get him’.”
Thompson added: “We have signed another guy with experience of playing in the top leagues in North America and a player who was rated highly in Sweden and Norway. Importantly, we have also signed a goalie that has won before leading Asiago to a playoff championship in Italy. Tyler has the resume of a goalie who should be backstopping the Sheffield Steelers. This feels like the right fit for both he and the club.”
The move spells the end of Josh Unice’s hopes of returning to South Yorkshire.