Sheffield Steelers have finally landed the man they believe can give them goaltending stability and consistency - a factor that eluded them for some of their championship winning season.
And the signing they have unveiled today is none other than Ervins Mustokovs, who led them to the Elite League title six years ago and was their number one recruitment choice last season.
The 32-year-old Latvian - who has the nickname Moose and has an unusually reserved character for a goaltender - played 63 times for the Ben Simon-coached Steelers in 2010-11 boasting a 92.7% save average.
Since then Mustukovs has spent time in Europe playing for some prestige sides: Odense, Denmark (2011/12 92.5%), Mora IK, Sweden Allsvenskan (2012/13 90.2%), Esbjerg, Denmark (2013/14 92.2%), Aalborg, Denmark (2014/15 92%) and last year in Grenoble, France (92.3%)
Mustukovs worked with Steelers coach Paul Thompson in Denmark, in 2014/15.
“I tried to bring Moose here last year” said Thompson. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to conclude the deal then but we are delighted to have landed him now. Moose is a competitor. He stops the puck and he will bring a level of consistency to our goaltending that we need if we are to retain our league title.
“Moose was excellent for me in Aalborg. He came to play every night and was the best goalie in the league. I like that we know what we are getting: Mr 92%”
Thompson also confirmed that ‘Moose’ would be partnered by Brad Day next season. “Brad had an excellent first year for us” said Thompson.
“He played valuable minutes and won us important points that helped secure us the title. I said after we lifted the trophy last year that he was the reason we a had the success we did. He delivered for us and will only get better. Brad is a valuable member of the group and his partnership with Moose will be vital.”