ROB DOWD walked out on Sheffield Steelers after they won the championship, hoping the grass would be greener in Northern Ireland.
Steelers’ fans would have him back at the Arena in a heartbeat...and haven’t given up on him doing just that next year.
But Sheffield coach Ryan Finnerty - who has to plot how to contain his mercurial skills and the rest of his Belfast Giants team mates on Sunday - isn’t holding his breath about a return of the prodigal son.
“I saw him play for them last weekend and he was probably Belfast’s best player,” acknowledged the coach, who found out that the 23-year-old left wing was leaving within hours of becoming team boss at Sheffield.
“I think part of why he left here was because he didn’t get on with (former coach) Ben Simon and committed to Belfast before I could even get round to offering him anything in Sheffield.
“Will he come back? We are certainly always interested in all the best British players and would be happy to have him back but you won’t see me chasing him or anybody else.
“Rob Dowd wants to be the number one British player and thinks like a footballer, he wants to lead the parade and do things his own way.
“He is tough to coach because he likes things his own way. He is a great kid but has a different mentality, maybe he is too full of himself. Rob Dowd loves Rob Dowd.”
Finnerty says he can envisage the ambitious former Sheffield Scimitar going abroad next season.
“He’ll have his chance (to explore new leagues), he’s a hard working player I have always been impressed by how hard he works and others will be too,” he said. “He doesn’t see the ice all that well but likes the puck and shoots well.
“He is playing in all sorts of positions for Belfast now, he was on the penalty kill protecting the lead at the end of the game when I last saw him. Doug Christiansen (Giants coach) obviously sees something in him that Simon didn’t.”
Dowd, second top point scorer for Giants, (46 pts in 33 games) faces his old team at the Arena on Sunday - after they host Hull Stingrays on Saturday, first.
Sheffield will be chasing their 10th straight win tomorrow evening. Victory would mean they have won 30 out of 34 games.