Edinburgh Capitals, already enduring a miserable season, were hit with a double blow after former Chicago Blackhawks forward Pavel Vorobyev and Latvian defenceman Nikita Kolesnikovs quit to join Polish side Cracovia Krakow in a shock transfer-deadline day move.
Both players will double their salary with Krakow, who were Poland’s representatives in this seasons’ Champions Hockey League, and bring the number of players who have walked out on the Murrayfield men this season to six.
A club spokesperson said: “This happened out of the blue. The club concerned are trying to put together a play-off push and gave both players very lucrative offers, doubling their money.
“We heard about interest in Nikita on Tuesday and Pavel on Wednesday, which was deadline day in Poland. We tried to keep both players, especially Pavel but we couldn’t manage it.”
Edinburgh, who’s holding company is in the process of being liquidated, have only won four league games this season and are on course for their worst-ever showing in the Elite League. With their long term future seriously in doubt, the club spokesman went on to refute any suggestion that letting the players go was simply a cost-cutting exercise.
“Absolutely not,” he said: “We did have an Elite League club approach us asking if we were interested in releasing guys, we said no. We sill have a lot of hockey to play in which we wanted to compete and that was the end of the matter.”
Elite League contracts forbid a player to move within the league without the permission of the club holding the contract, however, a player can leave for a foreign league without penalty and at short notice and the spokesperson continued: “That’s the deadline day in Europe now past, but not here. We’ll try to bring players in but realistically it will be someone already in the country.”