SHEFFIELD, U.K. – The Sheffield Steelers today announced the addition of highly experienced forward Maxime Lacroix to the team, leaving them with just one import forward left to sign for the new campaign.
The 26-year-old French-Canadian joins the team from the Odense Bulldogs in Denmark where he registered 40 points (15+25) in 40 games, and added a further 9 points in 14 playoff appearances, leading the team in the point’s charts.
The 6’0 centreman was selected in the fifth round (127th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals, but wouldn’t feature in ‘The Show’ unlike his father Pierre, who played in 274 games for the Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers.
After an impressive junior career with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL (2004-07) Lacroix turned professional during his final season when he played in two playoff games for AHL outfit the Hershey Bears, where he would score a goal, but see his team knocked out during the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
The 2008/09 season saw Lacroix sign with ECHL side the South Carolina Stingrays, where he registered an impressive 64 points (33+31) in 63 games, helping the team to their third Kelly Cup championship. He also featured in a further 6 games with Hershey that season recording a goal.
The following season saw Lacroix sign with AHL side the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he would record 3 points in 27 games. Lacroix finished the season with ECHL side Cincinnati Cyclones, where he would fare better, as he recorded 28 points (17+11) in 38 games, helping the team to another championship.
Lacroix would return to the Stingrays for the 2010/11 season but after posting 10 points (7+3) in 13 games, he earned himself a spot on the Hershey Roster for the remainder of the season posting a respectable 16 points in 57 games.
Lacroix would split the 2011/12 season between the two teams once again, but would register an impressive 33 points (12+21) in 31 games with South Carolina, and a further 10 points in 9 playoff games.
Steelers Head Coach Doug Christiansen spoke about his latest acquisition, “Max is an extremely important piece to our puzzle. He is a winner. He has won three titles and knows what it takes to win. He has a great shot and is a proven scorer. However, he is not just a scoring centre, he is a player who is great in his own end and can play in all situations,” Christiansen said.
“His former coaches and teammates raved about him as a person. I expect him to be a key contributor for us. Max has an EU passport and will be flying to Sheffield next week with the rest of his teammates,” Christiansen added.
Lacroix has already been likened to a more offensive version of former Steelers fan favourite Tylor Michel, and will help to bolster the squad after losing forward Ryan Menei due to ‘family reasons’.
Lacroix also spoke about joining the Steelers and his time in Denmark, “I had trouble adjusting to the style of play over there. That’s why the move to Sheffield is a good one for me, a chance to get back to the North American way of playing the game. Last year I played on the wing when I like to play centre. Our D zone coverage was passive and we spent too long in our own end. I like to be aggressive on the forecheck,” Lacroix explained.
“When I spoke with Doug it was important I understood his style of hockey, I need to have fun when I play. The style is important to me and after speaking with him I liked how he spoke and how he thought about the game, we have similar views,” Lacroix said.
“I love the game but I need to have fun as well, and Sheffield wants to win as I do. The team is a contender playing at the top of the league and I want to be a big part of that team. We have lots of good players, lots of AHL guys with NHL games, we all work together to help the side win,” Lacroix added.
The Steelers now just have one more player to sign, which is expected to be next week ahead of the teams’ pre-season European tour where they will head to Hungary on the 28th of August and face Hungarian side SAPA AV19 as well as tough competition from Swiss side HC Ambri-Piotta, and Slovenian side Olimpija Ljubljana.
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