SHEFFIELD STEELERS head into today’s first Elite League meeting of the season with arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers with slightly heavy hearts.
The club have been forced to bow to the inevitable and wave goodbye to injured Canadian forward Pascal Morency, with the 32-year-old only having played in two games for the club.
The winger had arrived during the summer with an impressive resume which boasted more than 120 games in the American Hockey League, North America’s second tier.
But he suffered a concussion in his first game for the Steelers in Cardiff and was forced to sit out on the sidelines until last weekend’s game at Edinburgh Capitals. Unfortunately, he took a hit from behind and suffered a recurrence of concussion-like symptoms.
Morency, who reportedly suffered a fractured skull three years ago, and the Steelers agreed to part company yesterday, giving the forward the opportunity to go back home to North America and fully recover.
“We had looked forward to Pascal being an important player for us this season, but circumstances have acted against us all,” said coach Gerad Adams.
“Pascal is as disappointed as we are that our relationship can’t continue, but it is in his best interest – certainly from a health point of view – that he goes back home to fully recover.
“We’ll now move forward in trying to find a replacement for the remainder of the season.”
Steelers head to Nottingham’s National Ice Centre looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to Dundee Stars, only their second loss in 12 games.
The two previous encounters with Nottingham this season were both in the Challenge Cup, Panthers winning 2-1 at home before the Steelers gained revenge with a 4-2 victory in Sheffield.
Hull Stingrays’ player-coach Omar Pacha is refusing to be negative ahead of back-to-back Gardiner Conference games against Dundee.
With doubt remaining over whether American forward Will Frederick will arrive in time to make his debut at home against Dundee tonight (6.30pm), Hull will again be short-benched following the exit of homesick defenceman CJ Chartrain.
After losing their first six home games, Hull have enjoyed an upturn in form, winning three league games at Hull Arena.
“I think guys know now how to play a bit more at home, they feel more comfortable at home,” said Pacha.
“It is a small rink but it is very loud.
“It is an intimidating place to play and guys feed off that.”