ICE HOCKEY: Sheffield Steelers have completed their roster for the 2009-10 season. Head coach David Matsos landed his "number one target of the summer" when former Steelers hero Kevin Bolibruck returned, along with Jeff Hutchins, who joined from Newcastle Vipers.
Bolibruck, 32, was a defensive lynchpin of the Steelers' double-winning side of 2004, before playing in Finland, Germany, Denmark and Italy.
Bolibruck said: "I always knew that I would come back to Sheffield. My wife and I never closed our bank account when we left here before, we loved it with the Steelers and just always thought that business wasn't finished."
Dave Matsos said: "I think the fans and the people at the club share my own opinions of Kevin, they have seen him with their own eye's and know we have just signed one of the best players that will play in this league next season."
Down the road, the Nottingham Panthers have landed another big hitter in Canadian forward Cameron Mann who has nearly 100 games in the NHL, the world’s top club league, under his belt.
The 32-year-old Canadian played 93 games for Boston and Nashville, as well as an impressive four years in the DEL, Germany’s top league. He also had a season in the Finnish Elite League with top flight club Tampere.
Panthers' Coach Corey Neilson said: "Cameron is a class act. He has a proven record at the very highest levels and I am thrilled that he has agreed to join us.
"This signing only goes to underline our ambitions and intentions. It is going to be a great year of entertainment and excitement. Just look at the line-up, from back to front we have worked hard to put together a roster that is full of key players.
"The season is fast approaching but it can’t come soon enough. Getting this Panthers roster together on the ice will be mouth watering."
Hull Stingrays have beefed up their roster with Canadian enforcer Adam Knight.
The 28-year-old split last season in the Central Hockey League with Colorado Eagles and New Mexico Scorpions, totalling two goals and two assists, plus 153 penalty minutes, in 58 games. The 6ft 2in, 205lbs player, who also had 15 fights, will play on defence.
He is joined in Hull by Canadian forward Matt Reynolds, who completes Stingrays' roster for next season. Reynolds returns for a second season having posted 22 goals and 33 assists in 51 games last term, finishing the team’s second-highest point-scorer despite missing six weeks with a broken finger.
Stingrays have also announced a pre-season tournament at the Hull Arena involving Dutch side Tilburg Trappers and Nottingham Panthers.
Three games will be played over the August Bank Holiday, with Stingrays facing Trappers on Saturday, Panthers taking on the Dutchmen on Sunday before the Elite League rivals go head to head on Monday.
Stingrays Director Mike Pack said: "I was delighted to be able to arrange the fixtures with Tilburg and I need to thank referee Marco Coenen's help with the negotiations. I was doubly pleased when the Panthers welcomed the chance to get involved.
"It will be a good run-out for all three teams before we embark on our own domestic campaigns and it should be a great weekend of hockey and provide something a bit different for the fans whether they will be travelling from Holland, Nottingham or from East Yorkshire."
And Newcastle Vipers have completed their roster with the signing of Canadian goalie Kevin Reiter. Robinson spent last season in the Elite League split between Edinburgh and Nottingham, but before that was an UHL All Star, UHL Goalie of the Year and two seasons ago had the top save percentage in the Italian Serie A with Ritten.
Joining him are American defenceman Tyler Kindle, who joins from ECHL's Stockton Thunder, and will be the main offensive threat from defence for the coming Elite League campaign. Also American forward Jason Tejchma, who comes to the UK from Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL and is taking advantage of the Vipers' links with north east Universities to study for a Masters degree.
Vipers are also delighted with the return of Slovakian forward and 2006 Play Off Champion, Matus Petricko.
The 29 year old Slovakian scored 53 points in 47 games for the Club during 2005/2006, helping the Vipers to a second place finish in the Elite League at their first attempt and securing the 2006 play off championship.
Petricko went on to win the 2007 Elite League play off championship with the Nottingham Panthers and the Slovakian Extraliga championship with HC Kosice last season.