EIHL: early summer moves on and off the ice for Elite League teams

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The long summer recess has barely started, but team building has begun across the EIHL.

While the rumour mill continues to turn, clubs have made the first steps to building their rosters for the 2024-25 ice hockey season.

It’s safe to say Dundee Stars have been the busiest, emerging quickly from the starting blocks to tie up returns for key imports Kyle Pouncey, Dryden Dow and Xavier Pouliot, but the move which caught most fans by surprise was the signing of vastly experienced British skater, Ben O’Connor from Guildford Flames, with the defenceman signing a two year deal.

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Stars have lost netminder Lucas Brine to Glasgow Clan, but their early balance sheet in terms of players in and out is looking healthy.

Sean Giles is the first import to move on from last season's Fife Flyers team (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)Sean Giles is the first import to move on from last season's Fife Flyers team (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)
Sean Giles is the first import to move on from last season's Fife Flyers team (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Manchester Storm have seen more one-way traffic, and their team building will only follow once they appoint a replacement for coach Matt Ginn to pursue a new opportunity in North America.

Storm will be one of several teams under new leadership next season with Danny Stewart moving from Coventry Blaze to Nottingham Panthers, and Kevin Moore making the reverse journey.

Belfast Giants have made a couple of stellar signings already - underlining their determination to improve after a poor season, by their standards.

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Forward Scott Conway isd back in the EIHL after a spell with HK Dukla Trencin, while JJ Piccinich is also back for a second stint.

Sheffield Steelers have publicly said they want the bulk of their Grand Slam team back, with Kevin Tansey a key first signing, but Niklas Nevalainen and Brett Neumann have both moved on.

Brett Perlini, son of former Fife Flyers’ import Fred, is back in UK hockey after joining Cardiff Devils where he will be joined by defenceman Gleason Fournier and the returning Riley Brandt.

Fife Flyers have yet to show their hand, but fans know at least one import won’t be back after defenceman Sean Giles signed for Eisbären Regensburgin the DEL2.

Giles was one of the players drafted into the team by coach Tom Coolen in mid season, and fans had high hopes he would be on the list of returnees.

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