Jay Latulippe has prematurely ended his Sheffield Steelers’ career after failing to bring the same impact as he had previously done in the Elite League.
The forward was tipped as THE player to watch by coach Gerad Adams when Steelers’ team boss signed him early in the Summer.
But overall his contribution was not as dynamic as many onlookers would have liked - or as they were during point-a-game performances at Elite League rivals Cardiff Devils and Dundee Stars.
It is possible the American third-liner jumped ship before Adams found himself with a difficult decision to make.
Latulippe, aged 32, has returned to his club of last season, Kristianstads IK, who play in the third tier of Swedish ice hockey.
Adams, who had the player on his books at Cardiff, (Devils Player Of The Year 2008-2009) is now “aggressively seeking a replacement” as the team seeks to make the League top spot they share with Braehead Clan, their own.
Latulippe admitted to The Star a few weeks into the season that his form had not been to the high standard he wanted and he had been frustrated in not finding “the fire” he’d wanted to display to the Arena supporters.
While he undoubtedly worked hard as a centreman, his rewards were few and far between in terms of points at Sheffield - he had just one point in the last seven games, for instance.
And he didn’t have much joy against English or Northern Irish teams in the regular season: his only goals came against Scottish sides.
The club said: “We thank Jay for his contribution. A great opportunity arose for him at his old club and at this time of his career, e felt he had to go there. We did not want to stand in his way and he leaves on good terms. The hunt is very much on for a new player.”
Ironically Steelers first game without Latulippe will be on Friday against his old club Cardiff.
Steelers have met the Devils four times so far; both clubs recording two victories each.
*Cardiff are sweating on a possible ban for Tyson Marsh.
He received a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding Darryl Lloyd in the game against Belfast last weekend.
*Last night’s result: Challenge Cup Quarter Final 1st Leg Fife Flyers 2 Nottingham Panthers 7