Two Sheffield Steelers stars lose jobs in Germany
Two Steelers' stars have lost their jobs in Germany, the club has confirmed.
Sheffield captain Jonathan Phillips and fellow-winger Anthony DeLuca paid the price for a poor run of form at Passau Black Hawks.
Both forwards had uprooted from their respective homes in England and Canada to find work after the coronavirus pandemic brought the EIHL to a standstill.
They had initially been hoping to play for Sheffield, but then moved on temporarily to Germany when lockdown bit hard in the UK.
Hawks said there had been "a mutual termination" of their contracts at the club, which is situated on the Austrian border.
"Both players will no longer appear for the Passau Black Hawks with immediate effect," Hawks said, adding: "We thank Anthony and Jonathan and wish both players all the best for the future."
Black Hawks have replaced one of the forwards with Canadian Liam Blackburn, who has moved up from the league below, with ERSC Amberg.
In the last three games, all defeats, Hawks have conceded 16 goals and management clearly decided that changes were essential.
On the other hand, DeLuca was the team's top scorer with three goals and two assists in seven outings.
Phillips recorded a goal and an assist in eight games, in the third tier of ice hockey in Germany.
Both men had taken the jobs in the Oberliga for financial reasons, but also to keep playing during the barren hockey period in the UK.
For Phillips, at 38, it is essential to keep playing, so he will be ready to return to Sheffield when the action re-starts.
Steelers' coach Aaron Fox has spoken to both players, who headed home as soon as the decision was made.
Fox said both had dealt with the decision professionally, adding that some elements of their time in Passau had been an "eye opener" for them.