He was arguably the fans’ favourite at Sheffield Steelers last season.
But that adoration - and his undisputed successes on the - ice won’t be enough to see Tylor Michel in the same uniform next season.
Steelers’ new coach Doug Christansen expects the feisty winger to explore opportunities abroad.
While Christiansen says, generally, that he “encourages” players to achieve their potential in the best leagues, it is a blow, locally. Especially as Michel is the only player that Christiansen mentioned, as an example of Steeler excellence, when he addressed the media in a press conference to announce his appointment, back in April.
Christiansen said last night: “Tylor’s preference is to play elsewhere in Europe and further his career to the best of his ability. I encourage that and I expect he will go on and see what other places can hold for him. I’ll keep an eye on him to see what he’s doing. But I have every expectation he will wind up on the continent.”
The coach accepts fans will be upset to hear the 29-year-old, who ex-coach Ryan Finnerty admitted had “carried” the team at some points last season, is off.
But he said: “Professional sports is a nomadic business. I understand that fans latch on to a player who is so good on the forecheck and drives the net - Darryl Lloyd did a similar job for me at Belfast.
“But we are looking at other players who influence the game in this way.”
*As expected, ex Steeler Lee Esders has joined Chris Frank at Braehead Clan.