Unlucky Oskar Östlund leaves Sheffield Steelers with Canadian goalie joining

A rare picture of  Oskar Östlund in action for Sheffield SteelersA rare picture of  Oskar Östlund in action for Sheffield Steelers
A rare picture of Oskar Östlund in action for Sheffield Steelers
Oskar Östlund's luckless spell at Sheffield Steelers is over.

The talented Swedish netminder signed a two year deal with the EIHL club in the Summer and started two pre-season friendly games.

Then things started to go horribly wrong for what had appeared to be Steelers' first-choice custodian.

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An hour before a challenge game last September, he launched into vigorous warm-up exercises, started performing squat jumps...and somehow caught his thumb in his pocket.

He broke a bone in the freak accident, then reinjured it, and never got to play in the UK league.

Östlund's plan to complete his MBA studies at the University of Sheffield never came to fruition either.

He is now recovered from the injury and told The Star recently he was ready to compete with Matt Greenfield for the goaltending role.

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But Steelers today announced they had parted company with him - the 30-year-old heading back to Scandinavia.

They have replaced him with Canadian Hayden Lavigne, from Manchester Storm.

Coach Aaron Fox said: "Oskar is due to come off the Injury Reserve this week and we had a chat about our current situation and he understood that Greener is our guy here moving forward and that I could not promise him a string of games to get him into form.

"After the conversation, he has asked for his release to pursue an option to play more games in Europe.

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"If this were any other league with a long playoff format things would likely have been different.

"But with the situation we are currently in and the League being so tight our plan is to ride Greener here.

"With Osty not playing much last year and how things have gone this year he really wants and needs to play.

"We weren’t going to hold him back from that so have agreed to release him, effective immediately.

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"He’s worked hard in this process and unfortunately things didn’t work out here as I believe he’s a quality goalie and wish him well."

There had been mixed signals from the club, regarding the former Storhamar, Norway regular.

Greenfield told The Star last week that he was delighted Östlund was back in the picture and said he'd abide by any decision the coach would make over starting roles.

But Fox intimated after Saturday's game against Guildford Flames that he'd find it hard to find a spot for the Swede.

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Steelers have now brought 26-year-old Lavigne in, for the rest of the season.

Fox said: "With the injuries Manchester had up front, and their need to release him to bring in a forward, the timing of him becoming available was great for us, as he’s already in the country and is a British passport holder.

"He has shown he can win games in this league beating some top teams already and he understands he’s coming in to work hard and support Greener.

"If we need him to step in and give us games at any point we feel he will be ready to give us a chance to win."