EIHL round-up: Panthers name return date, Flames and Stars players departs

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Nottingham Panthers have announced the date they will return to the ice following the death of player Adam Johnson.

The club will resume their Elite League campaign with a game against Belfast Giants on Sunday, November 26 - almost one month to the day of the tragedy.

Panthers will honour Johnson at a memorial game this weekend before then preparing for their league return. The club has already withdrawn from the Challenge Cup without completing their qualification games. The league has yet to outline how the competition will progress - but an announcement is expected soon as clubs start to pencil in dates for the next round. Only one club will be eliminated.

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Omar Pacha, Panthers’ general manager, said: “We'd like to thank our amazing fans for their remarkable support, understanding and patience in the past few weeks. Our return to competitive action against Belfast is an important step and the whole club and fanbase will all be united behind our players."

Ben O'Connor will be a key player again this weekend for Guildford Flames (Pic: John Uwins)Ben O'Connor will be a key player again this weekend for Guildford Flames (Pic: John Uwins)
Ben O'Connor will be a key player again this weekend for Guildford Flames (Pic: John Uwins)

As Panthers begin to take the first steps back from a harrowing loss, the league continues with a raft of fixtures this weekend.

Sheffield Steelers take on Belfast Giants in the top game before then hosting a Glasgow Clan side that has to find ways of winning games to ease the pressure on coach Jason Morgan after the third period collapse and defeat on home ice to Fife Flyers, followed by shipping six goals to Dundee Stars.

Clan are also in action (tonight) against Guildford Flames who were hit this week by the departure of homesick forward Bryan Lemos.

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He iced in 16 games but decided to take his leave after a meeting with head coach Paul Dixon who said: “By the time we met, he had already made a flight for Tuesday afternoon without going through the usual team travel procedure, so the decision had been made and there was no going back.”

Flames remain north of the border on Saturday when they head to Dundee Stars who parted company with import Johnny Walker this week, before he could start a three-game suspension for flooring Flyers’ forward Kyle Osterberg with an elbow. It was the player’s second suspension of the season, and he was clearly on DOPS radar, so the club has cut its losses and wished him well.

Fife Flyers have a double header with Coventry Blaze, with Saturday’s game in the Midlands and Sunday back on home ice.

Manchester Storm, currently a top four slot in the standings, host Belfast Giants on Sunday - Adam Keefe’s side will be minus defenceman Miles Gendron who has bene hit with a two game suspension after being thrown out of a recent game for a cross-check.