If Jace Coyle wasn’t match-fit in his season’s debut for Sheffield Steelers, he certainly didn’t show it.
The speedy defenceman scored a goal and patrolled the blue line with his customary zeal after returning after a few months with an American team.
“I could use a couple of weeks to get my legs back and my sleep pattern back” he said. “Then maybe I will challenge Jono (Phillips) to a race!”
Coyle admitted he had been a “little bit” nervous before donning the Steeler shirt to play Dundee Stars on Wednesday.
“I had a couple of weeks without playing, but felt pretty good out there. The team we had here last year had a similar dynamic in the way we played, to this team, I don’t think Thommo (coach Paul Thompson) has strayed too far from what he built last year. It is an easy place to jump back into.”
Life has had more than its share of complications in the time between leaving and re-joining the club.
He got married and bought a house in Calgary, before joining Quad City Mallards, Illinois. His wife has a job in Canada so has remained there. “I had an opportunity to come back here and I really enjoyed myself here last year. From that point it was an easy decision. He said the championship winning year with Steelers was one of his “most fun” seasons and thinks there is a good chance of doing the same thing again in 2017.
A win at Cardiff Devils on Saturday will be a huge part of that ambition. Coyle said: “I haven’t seen their new rink yet, but I know their fans get into the game they are always a tough team to beat at home. Coming into the second half of the season, you have got to start winning the head-to-heads with them. It is just like last year; it was close with them.”