Cardiff Devils have signed a tough, physical defenceman who will be in their team this weekend.
Canadian enforcer Tyson Strachan flies into Cardiff on Thursday, is due to skate with his new team-mates on Friday and play at Sheffield Steelers on Saturday.
Devils coach Andrew Lord played junior hockey alongside Strachan for Vernon Vipers during 2002-03.
The arrival of Strachan, who adds an edge of steel to the Devils team, means they now have two extra imports on their roster, but Joey Haddad, Patrick Asselin and Mark Richardson have all suffered minor injuries.
Asselin might have played at Coventry Blaze on Sunday, where Devils won 3-2 in the Challenge Cup, but he was given time off because his wife was giving birth to their second child.
Haddad and Richardson are being assessed this week and Lord will make selection decisions later this week, although the 6ft 3ins Strachan looks certain to play at Sheffield and against Nottingham Panthers at home on Sunday (6pm).
There are no plans for any imports to be released, but Lord, managing director Todd Kelman and the Devils’ Calgary-based owners will all want to see an upsurge in form now Champions Hockey League fixtures have been completed.
Strachan, 32, played a total of 186 NHL matches for St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild.
He earned more than three and a half hours in penalty minutes at the top level, while his American League tally for penalties was seven hours-plus in 404 matches.
The big Canadian has joined Devils after leaving an Arizona Coyotes training camp in North America.
“We are pleased to sign Tyson at this stage of the season,” said Lord. “He is a solid defenceman who has played at the top level in the World and I believe he will be a huge boost for us back on the blueline.
“Fans can expect a rock solid D-man in Tyson. His teammates can expect a total pro, a great guy in the locker room and a leader out on the ice.”
The signing came through an NHL connection of owner Steve King, who called about Strachan last week when the team was over in Sweden.
The connection runs even deeper with Strachan’s agent and Kelman, who played junior together in Vernon for the same organisation that Lord and Strachan played for years later.
Lord said: “We have hit some injury trouble and this signing comes at a crucial time for us. We have a massive weekend coming up with games against Sheffield and Nottingham.
“We expect to have Tyson in the lineup for both games this weekend.”
Strachan, who will wear number 25 for the Devils, was drafted by Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL draft pick during 2003 and most recently played for Rochester Americans, the top affiliate for NHL club Buffalo Sabres.
The 15 stones D-man, born in Melfort, Saskatchewan, is match fit and ready to play after a tough Arizona camp and goes straight into crucial Elite League matches against Steelers away and Panthers at home.
Ticket information for Sunday’s clash with Panthers at Ice Arena Wales (6pm) is available through the Devils official website, via 0800 0842 666 or book in person at IAW reception.
Bookings for next Tuesday’s Mark Richardson testimonial (7.30pm) are available from the same outlets.