Great Britain ice hockey boss will now be up against his Sheffield Steelers' favourites
He remains their advocate only with one caveat - he is now plotting how to compete against them next season.
As The Star suggested last week, Russell Pete Russell has now been confirmed as the new Head Coach of EIHL rivals Cardiff Devils.
The 48-year-old Scotsman has signed an initial two-year deal and will be hoping to bring the same managerial know-how which got GB back to the top flight and his previous (German) club Ravensburg Towerstars to a championship last season.
Russell could be facing Steelers very early next season - it is thought Cardiff and Nottingham Panthers will be Sheffield's opposition in pre-season exhibition games.
Here's his thinking on Sheffield's players, after they had competed for him and Britain in the recent IIHF World Championship promotion-winning tournament.
Robert Dowd: "He was great. People talk about his shot but he has got an amazingly high compete level, every shift he competes his ass off and that gives him the edge.
"He has real heart for it, a real high-end competitor," Russell told The Star.
"Dowdy battles, makes plays, keeps the puck in the right areas, makes contact and backchecks hard. He does everything.
"He is always in good shape, he looks after himself, and as long as he does that he will probably be hoping for another six years in the game like Jonathan Phillips.
Davey Phillips: "Davey is the glue in the room, the most likeable, funniest guy you could be around.
"He got better and better as the tournament went along and you could tell it meant a lot to him.
"He was made captain after 100 caps and that was awesome for him.
"It was such a historic tournament in that way, with Jonno retiring."
Russell added: "Davey could play another year easily, in the EIHL.
"If I think about him, I start smiling, you couldn't replace him."
Sam Jones: He also got better as the tournament went on, he is really coachable and takes details in.
"In that way, he is a sponge, he takes in anything you tell him.
"He played his way into the tournament (in Nottingham) and played more minutes as he went on. He has good energy, good skater, high compete. He likes the gym too."
Russell has also praised Evan Mosey as "one of our better players in the tournament" and the retiring Phillips, who had been "an unbelievable servant to British ice hockey."
As for the task of running Devils, the new coach told Dai Sport he would be leaning on core players.
“We have some great players here on multi-year deals, we’ve got a really good Brit-pack and we’re fortunate with that.
“Ben Bowns, Mark Richardson, Sam Duggan...and Josh Waller is exciting – he’s really young and you still have Ben Davies and Josh Batch.
“There’s a real core here of Brits and we want to add to that and make that a great base for the culture.
“I’d like to try and get a little bit younger if we can, but it’s not easy to attract those players to the UK right now – they all want to go to mainland Europe."