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SWINDON WILDCATS: Aldridge delighted as Cats sign Sandvik
RYAN Aldridge believes Swindon Wildcats have signed an ‘out-and-out team guy’ after swooping for Finnish forward Henri Sandvik.
The head coach has been on the lookout for a replacement for Nicky Watt and initially targeted a Brit to fill the void, but after being unsuccessful in his pursuit of ex-Manchester man Ciaran Long and finding other attempts to sign a home player thwarted, he turned his attentions to the continent.
Aldridge’s budget was freed up following the departures of Watt and Chris Jones, the latter of which could be set for a return to ENL hockey in Cardiff, and Sandvik, 25, has been identified as the right man to come in.
“I’ve been looking for a British player since the news about Nicky, but there’s not many guys around,” said Aldridge.
“It has to be an import forward because the British players of that quality aren’t out there.
“I spoke to Matias (Perkkio) about (Sandvik) as he knows him as they are a similar age. Matias just backed up what agents and other guys said about him - that he’s an out-and-out team guy.
“He does anything for the team or anything the coach asks of him, he’s supposed to be a great guy and I can tell that from the conversations I’ve had with him in the last couple of days.
“Matias says he’s a similar player to Nicky, although he’s obviously a bit more skilled and used to a higher level, but he’s not going to have that toughness where he’s going to drop the gloves as much as Nicky does.
“But he finishes his hits and works hard for the team every night. I’m sure he’s going to be a high-energy forward and that’s what we need.”
Sandvik is the fifth import on the Swindon roster alongside Perkkio, Jonas Hoog, Tomas Fojtik and Jan Melichar, with only four allowed to ice in EPL matches.
Swindon will be Sandvik’s third club this season following spells with LeKi and Hermes in his homeland.