Steelers’ coach Paul Thompson said Mathieu Roy had too much respect for Sheffield Steelers than to play out the last year of his contract while not being 100 per cent fit.
The French Canadian struggled with injuries last year but still ended up the highest scoring forward on the team.
While some felt his best days were behind him, Roy was protected by a contract at Steelers for the 2018-19 campaign.
Yet he decided to pull out - and for the most noble of reasons, says Thompson.
“We didn’t see the real Roysy for a lot of last year and that’s not his fault, that was because of many injuries and knocks he was carrying. That tells you the credit of the guy” said the coach.
“He rings you up and says: “If I can’t go out there and be Mathieu Roy for the Sheffield Steelers then I think it’s time to call it a day.’
“A lot of other players would have maybe picked up the pay cheque and got through.
“He’s got more respect for us than that.”
Thompson’s squad also lost Ben O’Connor to Swedish side Leksands IF in the Summer - and the coach believes Sheffield’s training and mentorship played a part in bigger-paying team’s attraction to him.
“Ben’s moved on, we have to accept that, that’s the sport we’re in. He’s been fantastic for us.
“And I think over the three years, we’ve really changed his game.
“It’s not just about his offence. His penalty-killing in the last couple of years has been exemplary.
“His plus-minus has been first and second in the team all the time.
“So I think we’ve worked hard with him rounding his whole game off. That’s why he is getting the opportunities at the league he’s getting.”
Thompson revealed he will be getting a replacement to Jerry Andersson as an assistant coach.
“We will miss Jerry, fiercely loyal, good hockey man” he said.