Eric Meland Joins the Sheffield Steelers
Sheffield Steelers are delighted to confirm that Eric Meland has joined the club on an initial one-year contract.
The 29-year-old American joins from Hungarian side Fehervar AV19 who played last year in the EBEL.
“Eric is that swing guy I have been targeting,” said head coach Aaron Fox
“He’s played predominantly as a defenseman for the last few years but played forward when he was younger and did so again in the middle of last season. Eric played really well in that position. He is comfortable on the wing or as a centre where he played a top 6 role at the end of last year
“You also get that responsibility in his own end for a forward due to playing most his career as a Dman, which will also help with some matchups. We can have some creativity with our line-up this way.
“We can use Eric in a top 6 D role when we have any injuries back there and a top 9 role up front when fully healthy on the back end. He really liked the idea of being slotted in different spots and will bring some energy to our line-up wherever he plays”
Meland turned professional in 2013 after studying at Princetown University in the NCAA, he immediately moved overseas joining HC Banska in Slovakia. The following season saw a return to North America with spells in the East Coast League for Missouri and Wichita.
In 2015 a move to Norway followed and a season spent in Lillehammer where he scored 13 goals and 36 assists in 45 games. 2016/17 was split between spells with Rungsted Seier Capital in Denmark before heading back to Slovakia with HK Nitra. Germany beckoned in 2017/18 with a move to DEL 2 side EC Bad Nauheim before joining Fehervar at the end of that season, Eric remained with the Hungarian side the following year before being confirmed as a Steeler today.
“I’m as excited as I have been in a long time,” said Meland. “This summer I was looking at the landscape of options available and it looked like either a move back to Scandinavia or the UK.
“Once I spoke with Aaron and he explained what he was trying to achieve in Sheffield I gravitated towards a move to the Steelers. Aaron explained the pieces he had put in place and I liked the role he had for me.
“I play a variety of positions and I like that” Meland continued, “I’d like to think I cover every square inch of the ice in a game. I understand Aaron likes that versatility in my game and if that helps the team, I’m happy.
“As a player, I’d like to think I’m a good skater, that I see the ice well and that I can make a good pass”
Meland is an educated man after securing a degree in Engineering, however, a different career pathway seems to be planned out.
“My brother is a dentist and I think he has persuaded me that my future is in that field,” he said. “I am committed to hockey for the next two or three seasons and hope they will be played in Sheffield and together we can win championships. That’s the reason I chose the Steelers and I can’t wait to arrive”
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