Adam Huxley will be Steelers’ enforcer next season as long as the club can offer him a place at the University of Sheffield.
The 29-year-old Canadian has agreed terms with Sheffield coach Ryan Finnerty and, subject to the University confirming his place with them, he will complete formalities soon.
Huxley is the man Sheffield fans will want to assess first - most ice hockey supporters crave a player who will drop the gloves for his team-mates.
Last season he picked up 179 penalty minutes playing for Las Vegas Wranglers in the ECHL, his biggest tally since the 2009-10 campaign.
It is possible Huxley might initially play on the fourth line - but will be encouraged to compete for a spot on the top three lines and penalty kill. He can also play defence and on the point in Power Play - which will be handy with Sheffield yet to recruit a sixth d-man.
Finnerty likened the left wing to another Adam - Belfast Giants’ Keefe, the champions’ leading penalty taker last season.
“I’ve known Adam for a while, he’s from my neck of the woods (Alberta) and we’ve played against each other so I have a good grasp of what he is all about” he said.
“He is a better player than perhaps his stats show (he only scored eight goals and two assists in 53 games for Vegas and he has never scored more than eight in any one season since turning pro 11 years ago.)
“He has always played at a good level, he knows his role and will be pushing guys for a place on the top lines - as long as we can get his schooling confirmed.” Finnerty is still awaiting clearance to sign another Canadian forward who has been in his sights for weeks.
Meanwhile, the Elite League says all Challenge Cup group matches will go to overtime and penalty shots to decide a winner from now on.