AFTER helping Hull Stingrays secure an unexpected spot in this weekend’s Elite League play-off semi-finals, Jordan Knox will have to watch his team-mates do battle with Sheffield Steelers from thousandsd of miles away.
The 28-year-old Canadian forward flies home from East Yorkshire this morning in order to be back in time to be best man at his brother’s wedding in Prince Edward Island on Saturday.
Knox, who has scored seven goals and 13 assists in 32 games since arriving, said: “I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“It was a tough situation but it is only going to happen once. I have grown up with him so it will have been hard to look at him if I had missed the biggest day of his life.”
“I will be checking the scores and will see if I can find a stream of the game on Saturday.”
Player-coach Omar Pacha added: “It is disappointing, but I understand his reason.
“He has been a good asset and has played well so it is tough to see him leave. I know he thought long and hard about it.
“The wedding was planned around his old schedule when he was in Poland and before he came here. It’s tough but we just have to get on with it.”
Knox said he was happy to have been part of a team that proved many doubters wrong, first by reaching the play-offs and then reaching the Final Four Weekend for the second time in four years after their stunning comeback win against league runners-up Braehead Clan on Sunday.
Hull will come up against a Steelers team for the seventh time this season. Gerad Adams’s team have won all previous encounters between the two this season, but Knox is backing his team-mates to pull off another surprise.
“The team getting to the final four is a great feat,” he added.
“I wish the boys all the best and I know they can do it.”
Steelers were handed a massive boost ahead of the play-off weekend when talismanic Mathieu Roy agreed to a two-year contract extension.
The 28-year-old has proved a revelation since joining Steelers for the 2014-15 season from the Florida Everblades, topping the Elite League scoring charts with 98 points - including 43 goals - in 66 games.
The signing represents a real coup for the South Yorkshire club given that many players who enjoy stellar seasons in the EIHL are often snapped up by clubs in other European leagues, where the quality of hockey is seen as better than in the UK.
But Roy is keen to repeat the success he has enjoyed with the Steelers this season when winning the regular season championship, with a second successive play-off trophy and a rare double still on the cards.
“There is a good feeling here, everyone in the whole organisation has treated me well, treated us all well,” said Roy.
“There is no experience that beats winning a championship, the emotion we felt a couple of weeks ago we want to feel again, not just this year but in the next two seasons as well.”
Adams was understandably delighted to get a man who many see as the league’s best player snapped up for a further two seasons.
“When you have the best player in the league you want to keep him,” said Adams. “It’s not just about his goals, its about his work ethic, his leadership and his presence. Having him on our team makes us a better team.”