Paul Adey has put ability before age in signing the first new face of his reign as coach of the Belfast Giants.
Calvin Elfring has left German club Straubing Tigers — who he captained to ninth in the DEL this season — after nine years to join the Giants.
And the 37-year-old will form part of an experienced defensive unit at the Odyssey Arena after 35-year-old Robby Sandrock re-signed for another season two weeks ago.
“It’s not so much about age, but how a player looks after himself,” said Adey.
“Some defencemen play into their 40s and D-men last longer than forwards.
“They pace themselves and I am not worried about having two guys who are well into their 30s in the defence.
“Robby Sandrock doesn’t play like a 35-year-old.He scored 16 goals last season as well and when you have your defensive players contributing in that way it takes the pressure off the forwards.”
Elfring himself is excited about leaving his long-term home in Germany for Northern Ireland, saying on his Twitter account: “Belfast here I come! #belfastgiants.”
He later added: “Wow, I guess twitter is big in Belfast!! Went from 50 followers to 260 in 20 min! #tealarmy.”
And Adey is just as excited to have secured the services of a player who was drafted by the now defunct Quebec Nordiques way back in 1994.
“Calvin will bring a vast amount of experience to our team next season,” said Adey.
“He has been with the same team for nine years and to me that’s a good sign of his quality on and off the ice.
“When a team keeps a player for that long it’s because he’s good.
“He is capable of doing everything as a defenceman, he has great leadership qualities too.
“I have spoken to people who have coached and managed him and he is a class act.”
Elfring is the 10th signing that the Giants have made since the end of the season just six weeks ago.
Currently there is a 50-50 split between imports and British players on Adey’s roster and with a couple of homegrown slots still to be filled the Giants have been linked with former Sheffield Steelers forward Ashley Tait, who was released by the club shortly after former Giants coach Doug Christiansen was appointed.
It is understood that talks have taken place between the Giants and Tait, but Adey would only say: “I don’t want to discuss names unless we have signed them.”