Swindon Wildcats snap up Finnish centre
SWINDON Wildcats’ search for a third import forward has finally come to an end after Juha Silvander put pen to paper on a one-year deal at the Link Centre.
Silvander becomes the third Finn on the roster alongside Henri Sandvik and Aku Pekkarinen and the 31-year-old is set to make his debut in the EPL-Cup opener at Basingstoke tomorrow.
Sandvik and Pekkarinen both played a significant role in the signing of Silvander as the information the pair provided convinced Aldridge that bringing in the centreman - who has played in France, Norway and Sweden - was worth the risk.
“Henri and Aku don’t know Juha personally but they spoke to a lot of people that played with him and they came back with nothing but positive stuff,” said Aldridge.
“The big thing for me is he has to play with Jonas (Hoog) and he has to be able to put the puck in the net, because we need goals.
“He’s played in a foreign country and been a captain in Sweden so I think he’s going to be a good person for us right now.
“He will be vital for us in the locker room.”
Aldridge’s search for an import has met with many frustrations and the head coach admitted he might even have signed a former NHL player if circumstances had worked out slightly differently.
“The last five or six guys I came close to signing have had unbelievable pedigree, the one before Juha even had NHL experience in 2010,” said Aldridge.
“He had the contract but kept asking me how long it would take to get out of it if he had a better offer, which didn’t sit comfortably with me.
“He might have only been here three weeks, so we decided against it.”
A late decision will be made on whether forward Sam Bullas is involved in Hampshire tomorrow as he sat out the challenge match defeat at Slough on Wednesday due to a neck problem.
Jan Melichar’s main role as injury cover means there is likely to be no place in the line-up for the Czech.
“We want to start the season off with a win. We’ve had a good pre-season and the boys are excited to get the real games under way,” continued Aldridge.
“The boys want to be successful this year and that’s why I’ve been hard on them in the locker room, because we’re that close to being successful.”
On Sunday, Swindon welcome Slough to the Link Centre.
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