SHEFFIELD STEELERS are scrambling around for short-term cover after it was confirmed Canadian forward Tyler Mosienko will have to serve a five-match ban at the start of the new Elite League campaign.
The 30-year-old was sacked by former club Esbjerg after being found guilty of breaking the Danish League’s rules on betting on your own team.
He played out the remainder of the season with the Alaska Aces in North America’s East Coast Hockey League before being snapped up by Steelers’ head coach Gerad Adams for his first taste of UK ice hockey.
As part of his punishment, Mosienko was suspended for five games, something he never got chance to do last season as he was immediately sacked by his Danish employers.
As the ECHL is not covered by IIHF rules, it means his ban must take place at the start of this season in the EIHL, leaving Steelers potentially a man down for just under three weeks.
“We’re obviously disappointed that Tyler can’t play the opening games,” said Adams.
“But we stand by the player we signed in the summer, we expect good things from him this season and can’t wait for the suspension to end and for him to return to action within our team.
“He’s devastated not to be in the team for Sunday, but he’ll continue to train and be a part of our group through this three-week period.
“We’re looking at short-term cover at the moment and we have a few optionsopen to us.”
Mosienko will miss Sunday’s opening game at Cardiff Devils in the Challenge Cup as well as the following weekend’s two league games against Fife Flyers. He will also miss the Cup clash against Nottingham Panthers on Saturday, September 20, along with the following day’s home clash in the league against champions Belfast Giants. He is scheduled to be available again for the Cup clash against Cardiff in Sheffield on September 27.
Elsewhere, Yorkshire rivals Hull Stingrays – their pre-season preparations already hampered by a lack of ice time – were hit with a further blow yesterday when experienced defenceman Kurtis Dulle quit the club four days before their season opener in Cardiff.
Player-coach Omar Pacha was informed of the 34-year-old’s decision by team captain Matty Davies, a close friend of Dulle, who cited “personal reasons” for his decision to return home to Canada.
The former captain rejoined the team he played for between 2010-2013 only this summer and was also handed a additional marketing role alongside his playing duties.
But, in a club statement, Dulle said: “I have decided to leave the club and England for personal reasons.
“I apologise for the setback this has caused the Stingrays, but I wish the team and the organisation all the best for the rest of the season and beyond.”
Dulle had played in Saturday night’s 6-3 defeat in a pre-season friendly at EPL outfit Peterborough Phantoms, who Stingrays face in a return match in Hull on Wednesday night.
Pacha’s team – some of who are still to arrive in the UK – have been starved of ice time ahead of the new campaign partly due to a six-week closure of the Ice Arena by the city council to carry out “essential maintenance”. They have been limited to two one-hour sessions at a rink in Widnes, around two hours’ drive away.
A planned re-opening on Tuesday night was cancelled, but it is thought Wednesday night’s game will go ahead as planned.
ELITE LEAGUE bosses have revealed they are to trial a four-man officiating system in games during September.
Currently the league operates a three-man system, unlike the four-man set-up – two referees and two linseman – favoured by NHL and Europe’s top leagues.
League chairman Tony Smith – also owner of Sheffield Steelers _ said: “It is something we have looked at before in the Elite League, but it has not worked for one reason or another.
“We’ll review it in September and then make a decision on how to move forward.”