Date:  Source: Elite Ice Hockey League

Sheffield Steelers have signed veteran forward Chris Lawrence for the 2018/19 season.

The 31-year-old previously played for the Steelers during their championship winning 2015/16 campaign, joining on a short term deal after the South Yorkshire side ran into injury trouble, contributing six goals and 12 points in 15 games.

““I’m very pleased to have ‘Larry’ back with us. I like him, I like what he can do for us, he knows the club and the league and he is popular in the room and with his team mates.” Steelers Head Coach Paul Thompson said.

“I spoke for a long time with Chris about my plans to have him centre the 4th line. It’s not a diminished role for him, it’s an important one for us and I spelt it out to him from the start. We know he can play higher up the line-up too, and that’s good because it puts pressure on those above him.

“We know he can kill penalties with his long stick and long reach, he is as good a face off guy as there is in the league and of course he can chip in offensively.

“Chris is also a character, he is popular with everyone who knows him and he can lighten the mood. I think this is a great all around signing for us.”

Lawrence originally came to the UK in 2014, joining the Nottingham Panthers, before moving to Coventry 12-months later. However the Toronto native struggled to recreate the same form he had shown in Nottingham and was subsequently released by the Blaze.

Thompson moved quickly to bring Lawrence in at the time, but opted not to retain his services once his short term deal ended, leaving Lawrence free to re-join Nottingham for the remainder of the 2015/16 season, where he helped the Panthers win the Challenge Cup and EIHL Playoff title.

The former NHL draft pick (2005, round 3, 89th overall by Tampa Bay Lightning) remained with Nottingham for the 2016/17 season, helping the East Midlands side become the first British club to win a major European trophy when they scooped the IIHF Continental Cup, before moving to Dundee last season to captain the Stars.

Injury limited Lawrence to just 16 Elite League games for the Taysiders, but Thompson hopes the 6’4” centre can play an important role for the Steelers this coming season:

“I was gutted when Liam Stewart’s injury meant he couldn’t join us, but when I sat back and thought what was needed for this specific role, Chris’s name popped into my head.

“I called him and told him of the position I had available and would he be interested; his reply was ‘100% yes’. Chris wants to win and he can help us do that with this important job we have for him”


PHOTO: Dean Woolley