Cole Shudra is returning to the Sheffield Steelers after signing a full time contract with the club earlier this week.
The 24 year winger has already played 129 league, cup and play off games in Orange since making his debut in 2016 when he joined the club under the apprenticeship programme.
Cole is no stranger to Steelers surroundings as he was born into the club with Father “Rocket Ron” being one of the teams original players back in 1991.
The move comes about following the tragic circumstances surrounding the passing of Alex Graham two weeks ago, it’s something Cole is more than aware of “I fully understand the pathway of my return” said Cole “It’s something both Alex and I used to talk about non stop when we were driving in the car to and from the rink, that story though was of us both playing for the Steelers together and being a big part of the clubs future
“When I heard the news about Alex I was just heartbroken and devastated and I still am, we always pushed each other to be better and I’m going to miss the time and all the good memories that we shared together, but I will never forget them
“I think that me coming back to Sheffield now is what he would have wanted and what he would have told me to do, he will always be with me in my thoughts and heart whenever I put that steelers jersey on.
“I believe that I am ready to return to the Steelers, I’ve always dreamed of playing for this club, I was born into it remember. It’s a part of me.
“I think the player the fans will see is a bigger, stronger and improved version of what left the club after my apprenticeship ended. I have Leeds to thank for a lot of that, it was the right move for me at that time to go there and I couldn’t be more appreciative of their help and support.
“Ryan (Aldridge) and Steve (Nell) have been excellent with me and I thank them for making the move possible for me to return to Sheffield, I wish them and all of the guys at the Knights all the best for the season ahead
“Now is the time to move on and I can’t wait to get started and be back inside the Steelers room”
Head coach Aaron Fox confirmed the appointment saying “Cole went down to Leeds and developed his 200 foot game and built up a ton of confidence.
“He has definitely earned a full time role at our level with how well he has played.
“This was a no brainer for us to look local to one of our own a player who I know exactly what we can expect from every night. Cole wants to be here and he definitely will be playing the game the right way.
“With Cole also being able to play both forward and defence quite comfortably we can use him in that swing role if needed”.
Fox also commented on the passing for Alex Graham saying “The news about Alex has been devastating, especially for his family, friends and teammates, the outreach and support from the British Hockey community has been nice to see, with everyone coming together during this extremely difficult time.
“We had big plans for Alex this year and his future was so bright. He was a pleasure to coach and I enjoyed watching him grow as a player and mature as a person.
“RIP 21 you will be missed dearly”.
Read all about it in the Sheffield Star