No sentiment as Sheffield Steelers snap up Edinburgh Capitals ace

Paul Thompson agreed a deal for unhappy in Edinburgh. Photo:Dean Woolley.
Paul Thompson agreed a deal for unhappy in Edinburgh. Photo:Dean Woolley.

Paul Thompson admits he has no real sympathy for Edinburgh Capitals, who have lost their prize asset to Steelers - the league’s top points-scorer Ryan Hayes.

Some ice hockey fans see the signing as an example of a wealthier club plundering a more less-fortunate one.

But Thompson says the clubs mutually agreed the deal and feels there has to be no place for sentiment in professional sport. Hayes could make his Steeler debut against Nottingham Panthers on Saturday.

“We knew that he was unhappy in Edinburgh” said the coach. “He asked for his release and we got wind of that. You often find out about players who are unhappy: players talk to players, owners talk to owners and then general managers then get involved.

“I don’t think the club wanted to get rid of him, but I don’t care about the ins and outs of that.

“Once permission was given that we could speak to the player, which are the rules of the Elite League, we went ahead. You cannot sign a player unless the clubs agree.

“I cannot have sympathy for the club losing their main man. It’s business.”

Thompson said he was sure they had brought in “someone who would add to what we already have. We wanted to sign a player in a position of strength, we feel we are going the right way. I like the idea of bringing in a player who can bring competition for places to our group.

“And he is the leading scorer in the league so we knew he had something.”

It is not clear whether other clubs were aware of Hayes’ delicate position in Scotland.

But, says Thompson: “We could not wait and sit back and ponder; if we feel there is a player who is right for us and can move us forward. We have to go for the jugular and that’s what we do.”