Ice hockey: Courtenay will stay

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The Independent Online
SHEFFIELD STEELERS yesterday clinched the eleventh- hour signing of Ed Courtenay, with the Canadian star signing a new two-year deal after having originally said his goodbyes to the club two weeks ago.

Courtenay looked set to return to his former club South Carolina Stingrays in the East Coast Hockey League, swayed by the offer of a green card which would have guaranteed him future employment in the United States at the end of his contract.

But Steelers' Sekonda Superleague rivals Cardiff Devils, upon hearing of Courtenay's decision to leave Sheffield, decided to try and tempt the forward with a lucrative offer of their own.

However, the Steelers team manager, Dave Simms, refused to let the Devils woo last season's leading scorer away from the club and decided to make a renewed offer.

"This is fantastic news for Sheffield, I think Ed looked at the package we are trying to put together at the club this season and so chose to return," Simms said. "We've got Ken Priestlay coming back and having signed the likes of Derek Laxdal, Ed's signing now completes the final piece of our player jigsaw."

Newcastle Riverkings have bolstered their squad with the addition of playmaker Eric Royal. The Newcastle coach, Alex Dampier, will be hoping Royal can recreate the partnership he enjoyed with the Riverkings' Rob Trumbley when the pair played for Wheeling in the East Coast Hockey League.