Sheffield Steelers swoop for Edinburgh Capitals import Ryan Hayes

Sheffield Steelers
Sheffield Steelers

Sheffield Steelers will have extra import firepower in their ranks when they take on Nottingham Panthers at the Arena on Saturday.

The club has agreed a deal to bring Edinburgh Capitals right winger or centreman Ryan Hayes to South Yorkshire.

He is the League’s top scorer.

The 26-year-old American is in his first season in British hockey, having signed for the Scots in the Summer from the ECHL, where he played for Stockton Thunder and Utah Grizzlies.

Hayes was Edinburgh’s leading scorer.

He netted 25 goals and 28 assists (53 points) in 41 games for Edinburgh, 20 points ahead of second-place Trevor Gerling.

Hayes is in prolific form having chalked up 11 points in 10 games for a team which is second to bottom and lost 5-1 at Dundee Stars last weekend.

What effect it will have on the club he leaves is perhaps not difficult to gauge, unless they have another signing up their sleeve.

But for Steelers’ coach Paul Thompson, this maybe the type of player he was looking for when he signed Chris Lawrence, from Coventry, an exercise that ended in the player leaving soon after.

Thompson is a big fan of Colton Fretter, but there is no concrete news on whether he will be back this season after suffering his second pelvic-area problem.

Fretter recently insisted he WILL be back this term, but Hayes’ arrival, on a season long deal shows the club is not willing to gamble.

Only Dundee have scored more goals than Sheffield this year, but Thompson has to keep that pattern going.

Capitals player-coach Riley Emmerson said owner “Scott Neil was in a difficult position because Ryan was unhappy and wanted to move, so he had to make the best decision to help the organisation.

“Ryan was a big part of our team and an influential part of the locker room, but I hope the players see it from the club’s perspective.

“When a player wants to leave you have to make tough decisions and Scott has taken the bull by the horns and I don’t blame him for that at all.”