Joonas Ronnberg is to leave Sheffield Steelers.
The 6ft 3ins defenceman has a family at home in Finland and after just 13 League games for the club says he has to return for personal reasons.
Steelers have tried to keep him, but have been unable to persuade him not to leave.
Coach Paul Thompson indicated last weekend that he was scouting a new D-man, but he will need to act swiftly, with fixtures piling up.
Ronnberg, aged 34, has played away from Finland since 2013.
His decision leaves much in the air for Steelers, who have lost two out of their last four games and are hoping Davey Phillips will return to the blue line this weekend after a deep-seated groin injury.
“We are disappointed to see Joonas leave us” said head coach Paul Thompson.
“He is leaving us for personal reasons in order that he can be with his family and we respect that.
“Both the player and the club tried to find away around these issues but in the end Joonas decided he is to return home. I thank him and wish him and his family well.
“We have enjoyed having him here and I think he has been excellent for us. I’m also hopeful he won’t have played his last game for the club as we wish to include him in our squad for the Continental Cup games in Denmark”
*Colton Fretter has been suspended for one match following his clash with a Belfast Giants player last Sunday.
The EIHL said: “The Department of Player Safety have reviewed the 5 + Game Checking from Behind penalty called on Steelers player Colton Fretter. Using the Referees report and video footage, this has been amended to a match penalty for charging.”
He will miss the Braehead game on Friday.