Fife Flyers are set to hand new import forward Liam Heelis his pro hockey debut for the 2017-18 season.
He joins the club after taking a year out of the sport to complete his masters degree at university – but comes highly recommended.
Heelis, a native of Georgetown, Ontario, brings versatility to the bench, and a hockey CV from the university circuit and the OHL.
Jeff Hutchins, assistant coach, billed him as a ‘‘smart, two-way hockey player’’ with a ‘‘stellar’’ uni hockey career.
He said: ‘‘He is a smart two way hockey player who can add offence to a line in all three forward positions.
“He will add some of the intangibles that we missed last season.’’
Hutchins added: “The character reference checks have been some of the most complimentary I have ever had on a player.
‘‘We will be adding a good person in the room and the community.’’
Heelis will be another new name to UK hockey, joining Evan Bloodoff, Danick Gauthier and Peter LeBlanc in the dressing room.
He iced with Peterborough Petes in the OHL from 2006 to 2011. His stats in the league show he iced in 265 games with 56 goals and 66 assists.
From 2012 to 2015 he was with Acadia University in the AUS and before moving on to McGill University to complete his masters degree in sports psychology, he also iced with Owen Sound Thunder.
He has garnered a number of honours during his career, was member of the all-star team that won gold representing Canada at the FISU Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy in 2013, and also took part in the 2011 Memorial Cup tournament as a Thunder player.
Heelis, who holds Canadian/Irish citizenship, was team captain at Acadia and the league’s leading scorer – he also led the league’s power play stats.
After a year out, he returns to the sport to make his pro debut with Flyers.
“I am very excited to be joining Flyers,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel grateful for the opportunity I have been given, as this gives me my first taste at professional hockey and a chance to immerse myself within a new culture and community.’’
Heelis also gave the fans a hint of what to expect in the coming months.
“Coming from Canadian university hockey, my values lie within strong team culture and contributing to the community, and I have heard many great things about Fife’s storied franchise and enthusiastic fans. Thus, I am really looking forward to getting started.
“I am eagerly looking forward to this experience and learning from the coaching staff and my new teammates. I consider myself very fortunate to start my pro career in Fife.
“As a player, I consider myself a two-way with strong offensive instincts and the ability to distribute the puck to my line mates and finish my opportunities.”