COVENTRY Blaze head coach Danny Stewart has added 34-year-old Canadian forward Alex Nikiforuk to his 2018/19 Elite League roster.
The 5ft 8ins right-shooter joins the club following a season as Associate Captain of Epinal in the French Ligue Magnus where he was selected as a first All-Star.
His 45 points in 44 games were good enough to lead the team for points.
Previously, the North Vancouver native spent a year in the UK with Blaze’s close rivals Nottingham Panthers where his 11 points in seven competition games helped the Panthers to become the first British side to win the IIHF Continental Cup.
That same season of 2016/17, he posted a total of 32 regular season points and an impressive 11 in 12 Challenge Cup matches.
Before his Elite League experience, Nikiforuk’s name regularly appeared among the top point-scorers in high-profile European leagues including Swtizerland’s NLB and Italy’s Serie A where he was an Associate Captain of GC Küsnacht Lions and Valpellice respectively.
In 2012/13, he was named a first All-Star and voted top forward with a league best points-per-game (1.53)in Denmark’s Metal Ligaen with Esbjerg.
Germany’s DEL and DEL2, plus the Finish Liiga also appear as places where the dangerous forward has produced eye-catching numbers.
Nikiforuk’s European career began in 2007 direct from the NCAA’s University of Nebraska-Omaha where he spent four years, the final two, in a familiar leadership role with an ‘A’ on his chest.
Notable achievements in junior include being the top point-scorer and first All-Star in the BCHL and KIJHL.
Head coach Stewart said, “We wanted to add some skill and experience to our line-up and we have ticked both of those boxes with Alex.
“He is a point producer.
“He’s a guy that sees the ice well, is very crafty and creates offence.
“What I also like about Alex is his compete levels.
“He’s gritty and plays in those hard areas and excels in them.
“He will bring passion and leadership on top of everything else and be looked upon to play an integral role in our team’s success.”
Nikiforuk added: “I have chosen to come back to the UK because of the awesome experience I had in 2016/17.
“I loved the country, league and the fans.
“I really enjoyed myself, and my family’s experience was second to none.
“My family and I can’t wait to come back and experience it all over again this time in Coventry.
“Coventry has a strong history and I’d love nothing more than to help contribute to some further winning success.
“Danny has been great to work with so far and my small prior connection and history with him has really helped convince me that Coventry is the perfect fit for me and my game.
“Before I have even arrived, the organisation has been very welcoming and amazing for myself and my family.
“The Blaze have a gritty blue-collar attitude and that sits well with me.
“I play with my heart on my sleeve and I look forward to being part of the tradition and the character that comes along with playing for the Blaze.
“I can’t wait to get started and have a great season in Coventry.”