AMERICAN winger R G Flath has been flown in by Sheffield Steelers as an emergency replacement for injured forward Mike Ramsay in time for Saturday night’s home game against Dundee Stars.
The 27-year-old had initially signed for Danish side Copenhagen at the start of this season but has become available after they hit financial troubles.
The 5ft 11ins winger has spent the majority of his career in the Central Hockey League, playing last year with the Mississippi Riverkings when he posted 41 points, including 17 goals, in 71 games.
Ramsay was ruled out for up to two months after fracturing two of his fingers in last week’s Challenge Cup win over Cardiff.
Player-coach Ryan Finnerty did not discover the full extent of Ramsay’s injury until late on Tuesday night meaning he and Steelers’ staff have had to work fast to bring in a suitable replacement.
Flath is coming in on a trial period initially but, said Finnerty, wanted to try and seal a place on the Steelers’ roster for the rest of the season.
“It’s a big boost to bring in a player like this at such short notice,” said Finnerty.
“He is coming here on an initial trial period, but he wants to remain and stay for the year. I like that, he is coming here with something to prove and he wants a job at the end of it.”
After tonight’s Arena encounter with a faltering Dundee, Steelers will face another test of their title credentials when they head to Coventry Blaze on Sunday night.
Paul Thompson’s team pulled off two stunning results last weekend to open up the title race once again, first shutting out leaders Belfast Giants in their own rink for a 3-0 win before returning home to edge out second-placed Nottingham Panthers in a seven-goal thriller.
According to Steelers’ defenceman Mark Thomas, last weekend by the served notice to the league’s other top teams that four-time regular season champions Coventry will once again be a force to be reckoned with.
“You can never write Coventry off and I think their results last weekend will have certainly shut a few of the doubters up,” said Thomas.
“Apart from last season when they finished sixth they have always been there or thereabouts and, of course, they’ve got a great coach.
“It’s always difficult going into Coventry. They’ll be coming out hard and we’ve got to make sure we match their intensity and play a dirty road game to try and get the win.”