Sheffield Steelers’ boss Aaron Fox first tried to recruit forward Michael Davies six years ago when he was sporting director for Medvescak Zagreb in the KHL and the 32-year-old American was preparing for what turned out to be his final season in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves.
The move never transpired, although it wasn’t long before Davies was on his way to Europe, switching to Dusseldorf in the summer of 2014 for the first of four seasons in the DEL.
But the pair would cross paths again in October last year, by which time Fox was combining head coach duties with his original role for the Croatian club which was into its second season back in the Austrian-based EBEL.
Davies found himself lining up for EHC Linz against Zagreb for his first taste of the league in late October, picking up an assist in a 5-4 win and reminding Fox of what had first interested him back in 2013.
Now, Fox has finally got his man, persuading the American his future lies in South Yorkshire.
“We actually played against him in his first game for Linz and he did really well against us, so I got to know his game quite well, quite early,” said Fox.
“I actually tried to recruit him back when he was in the AHL, I tried talking him into coming in to playing in the KHL, so I’ve always known his game.
“He gets to the hard areas, is super-skilled and skates well – so he’ll be great addition for us.
“He has scored at a high level everywhere he has been and is somebody we are counting on to be a top-six guy for us who I expect to run up numbers.
“He will also help our power play and is sombeody I expect to be a legitimate threat every time he is on the ice.”
Davies himself did his own due diligence, consulting ex-Steelers Mark Matheson and Guillaume Desbiens – both former team-mates of his in Chicago – before talking with Fox and signing on the dotted line.
“It was a huge help having Desi and Mark as references,” said Davies. “Them telling me I’d be happy in Sheffield was the start I needed when doing my research.
“Then it was about the coach and the style of game he wants to play. The coach is key, he guides the team and I know I can play for Aaron and, collectively, I believe we can be successful.”