Ben Blood has quit Cardiff Devils after just four months to join Finnish outfit Tappara.
The 6ft 4in American defenceman only joined in July but had quickly established himself on and off the ice in Cardiff.
Blood joined the Devils after playing for three years in the SM-Liiga and the shock chance to return to Finland which emerged last week was too good to turn down.
It has left Devils chief Andrew Lord looking for another new defenceman to take the place of ex-Ottawa Senators draft pick Blood after they agreed a compensation package with Tappara
“Our fans will be devastated to see him go, but this is pro hockey,” said Devils Managing Director Todd Kelman.
“Ben has been a big part of this team so far this season and despite the circumstances, we know this is a great chance for him to get back to Finland and we wish him well with Tappara.”
Kelman added: “We obviously are extremely disappointed that Ben is leaving the club, but on the flip side, this is a great opportunity for him and he has agreed a two-year deal with a top team in one of the best leagues in Europe.
“We found out late last week from Ben’s agent that this deal was on the table, and we have spent the last few days negotiating the compensation for releasing Ben from his contract.
“We will never agree to release a player without ensuring that the compensation covers everything we have invested in the player. Tappara and us have agreed a fair package to get this done.”
The Devils will have to do without Blood when they face Fife Flyers in Cardiff tonight looking to bounce back after successive defeats against Coventry Blaze and Nottingham Panthers.