The off-ice report

Friday, 2nd September 2005
Basingstoke Bison have suffered a set-back in their summer team-building with the loss of June signing Mike Rees.  The former Bracknell Bees captain suffered an injury in training and resultantly won't be joining the Bison for the forthcoming season.  Bison Coach Mark Bernard is philosophical about the loss of the defenceman, saying "I'm very disappointed but so is Mike, he was skating for one last time and ran into another player tearing his MCL. He had hoped it wasn't serious but after an MRI it looks like he will need an operation and be out until at least Christmas.  What can you do, we will find another defenceman and move forward.  I was very much looking forward to coaching Mike this season and will continue to stay in contact with him and we are all hoping he has a full and speedy recovery."
Basingstoke will also be without the services of defenceman Jeff Ewasko, who has signed for the Odessa Jackalopes in the CHL.
Ed Courtenay's tenure with Belfast Giants is going from strength to strength, with the signing of former Giant Jason Ruff as both a play and assistant coach.  "I'm thrilled to have signed Jason Ruff," says Coach Courtenay. "Ask any fan, ask any player, ask any journalist; Jason is held in extremely high regard both as a player and a team leader.  He was a crucial part of the team's championship winning side and throughout his time with the Giants exuded a confidence and presence on the ice which opposition respected and revered."
Coach Courtenay went on to add, "Every coach in the League would have been delighted to announce the arrival of Ruff in their team and I am delighted he will be out there delivering for us."
Also signing for Belfast is Matt Reid, who will be serving as a temporary player until the arrival of Theo Fleury in October. Reid spent last season with the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL.
Coventry Blaze have opened their pre-season warm-up with a friendly against Telford Tigers on 31st August, with a 4-2 result going in favour of the current League Champions.  Russ Cowley, Ashley Tait, Evan Cheverie and Tom Watkins were the scorers for Coventry.
Edinburgh Capitals have re-signed Neil and Ross Hay for the forthcoming season, with the brothers set to ice for the Capitals for the eight consecutive season.  Capitals General Manager Scott Neil says "It is great to have both of the Hays back on board this season.  They are both hard workers who have been developing steadily as their time with the Capitals has gone on both in the SNL and the BNL.  Our first season in the EIHL will bring new challenges and Tony Hand will be looking for both of them to dig deeper this season and improve on their already excellent work ethic."
Newcastle Vipers have lost forward Andrew Thornton and defenceman Richard Thornton to the Hull Stingrays.
Nottingham Panthers have added forward Blaz Emersic to their roster, signing the player from Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the CHL.  The former Charlotte Checkers, Utah Grizzlies, Lubbock Cotton Kings and Wichita Thunder winger is looking forward to playing in Nottingham, saying "I have heard a lot of good things about Nottingham and I am very pleased to have accepted their offer." 
Panthers Coach Mike Blaisdell is pleased with the signing.  "Blaz has a reputation for good skating and hard work.  He's played professionally in North America including a short stint in the AHL and in one year with Lubbock in the Central Hockey League he hit 33 goals and 40 assists for 73 points in 63 games.  Now he wants to try his hand in Britain and we're happy to have him on board.  I think he will fit in well and he has packed a lot of experience into his 24 years already.  Now he gets to experience playing in the Elite League."
London Racers have retained the services of enforcer Jeremy Cornish, with the forward signing on for another season in the Capital.  Racers Coach Dennis Maxwell, no stranger to the penalty box himself, is pleased to have Cornish back in the London team, saying "Everyone knows what they get with a guy like Corny.  But he improved steadily all year and I expect even more goals from him starting in September.  He is a team player who is great in the locker room.  I know that you can always count on Corny for a great effort."
London will be without veteran Steve Moria this season, with the forward signing for Milton Keynes Lightning.
Former Manchester Stom forward Geoff Peters, who iced for Storm in the final games in late 2002, has been signed by Anaheim Mighty Ducks of the NHL, having played last season for Rochester Americans in the AHL.
Ex-Phoenix Coach Paul Heavey has been putting the finishing touches to his Sheffield Steelers squad, with the signing of defenceman Rob Sarich and the return of Sheffield fan favourite Dan Ceman.  Forward Ceman iced for the Sheffield team in the 1999-2000 season before moving to Bracknell Bees and then on to Frederikshavn White Hawks, where he has played for the past two seasons.  "I loved my time in Sheffield and always hoped I would play there again," says Ceman, "this is a great opportunity and I think with the players we have signed we will have a super year.  I like the way Paul Heavey has handled this matter and have heard many good things about him as a coach."  Coach Heavey himself says "Danny is important to us.  I like Dan when he played in Britain before, such a hard worker and gifted player, its not often you get both of these qualities.  He is such a competitive animal who knows what it takes to win."
Speaking of former Augusta Lynx defenceman Rob Sarich, Coach Heavey says "We have been talking with Rod for a while, then Jody Lehman mentioned him again to us as he was skating with Rod during the summer.  I like the fact that he played in Finland, you don't play in that league unless you can skate well and play the game.  I believe that we have a good two-way player that can add some offence and look after his defences zone at the same time.  Rod plays with an edge, he was that winning competitiveness that I like."
by Richard Allan