Sheffield Steelers snap up experienced Canadian centre

New Sheffield signing Evan McGrath, the Canadian centre
New Sheffield signing Evan McGrath, the Canadian centre
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Sheffield Steelers have brought in an experienced centre to help guide their new young import signings.

Evan McGrath, aged 32, has been played 284 games in the AHL and almost 200 in Sweden’s second tier - his CV features tours of duty which have spanned eight seasons across Europe.

The Canadian will provide craft and knowledge to the forwards’ section which so far has seen the signing of younger guns Tanner Eberle (24,) Josh Pitt (26) and Brandon Whistle (20).

He is the seventh new overseas player on the books, his signature coming at the right time in public relations terms, after the decision to retire made by Mathieu Roy and Levi Nelson.

Coach Paul Thompson wants to see the centreman score and make goals - last year, with German second division side EC Kassel Huskies, he recorded 58 points in 52 games 20+38, becoming the club’s second-top scorer.

Thompson said: “It has been a long process to sign Evan but one we stuck with because we believed he was the right player for us, we are delighted to have signed him.

“Evan has been an impact player everywhere he has played and we expect him to be the same for us.

“We wanted a centre with a high hockey IQ and we believe he is that man.

“We also needed some experience and you only have to look at Evan’s resume to see that he has plenty of that.

“With his experience comes knowledge and he still has that hunger and desire to win.

“I think he is a fantastic addition to our hockey club, he can play in every situation, put up points and score goals.”

Six footer McGrath, who was a 2004 draft pick by Detroit Red Wings, went on to become an assistant captain at Grand Rapids Griffins (AFL) and IK Oskarshamn (Allsvenskan, Sweden).

A former team-mate of Belfast Giants’ coach Adam Keefe, McGrath’s father-in-law is Doug Gilmour, the 1,656-NHL game legend.