Chris Lawrence’s former Nottingham Panthers’ fight rival welcomes his arrival at Sheffield Steelers

Desbiens v  Lawrence
Desbiens v Lawrence

It all got a bit heated when Chris Lawrence and Guillaume Desbiens faced each on the ice.

They spent a short time on the same side at Sheffield Steelers, but their “relationship” will be remembered more for the tussles they had when Lawrence played for Nottingham Panthers.

Times move on - ‘Larry’, now 31, is heading back for a second stint at Sheffield while Desbiens is retired and in North America.

But Desbiens, a player Steelers missed last year when he signed off, has vivid memories of their shared encounters.

The fellow Canadians fought twice in 2016, but Desbiens told The Star: “There was no pre-existing animosity, just pure hockey fights in a very heated rivalry.

“We did not play long together (at Sheffield) as he left for Nottingham shortly after I arrived but everybody seemed to like him.

Desbiens v  Lawrence

Desbiens v Lawrence

“He is a big center (6ft 4in), which you can never have too many of.

“He’s very strong on draws and will help fill the void left with Big John Armstrong’s departure (to Medvescak Zagreb, Croatia).”

The player’s pedigree will be a bonus for a team which should be younger, overall, this year compared to last.

“He’s a quieter guy from what I know of him but he’s got experience in this league which is valuable for the amount of new players coming in,” Desbiens added.

Desbiens v  Lawrence

Desbiens v Lawrence

Larence was last year’s captain at Dundee Stars, and Desbiens said: “He could definitely bring leadership to the team.”

Former Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks NHL forward Desbiens, 33, keeps in touch with the Steelers, a club where he spent a season and a half.

“I definitely still follow the team and am constantly in touch with Thommo and Danny Mawer,” he revealed.

“I don’t know many of the new guys as I left before they started.”

Chris Lawrence is back for a second spell with Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Chris Lawrence is back for a second spell with Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley.

The death of former Coventry Blaze favourite Adam Calder has been met with sympathy across the EIHL.

Ex-Steeler Ben O’Connor described Calder, who had suffered from cancer, as “one of life’s good people”.

“I had the honour of playingwith Calds in Coventry and stayed friends when I left,” he said.

“A true gent who will be missed by all.”