By Chris Langrill
The Idaho Statesman
BOISE, Idaho – It’s something Idaho Steelheads coach Derek Laxdal has battled since taking over the team four seasons ago: the lure of Europe.
Players at the ECHL level are constantly being drawn to the idea of playing hockey overseas.
The list of Steelheads who have jumped across the pond is long. Taggart Desmet is in Italy. Mark Bomersback is in the Czech Republic. Kory Scoran is in Holland. Most recently, veteran Mike Stuart left Idaho for Norway.
“I don’t fault the guys, but you can’t prepare for it,” Laxdal said. “Losing a guy like Mike Stuart, we’re happy for him, but it’s tough.”
Laxdal has one player who has bucked the trend.
Weston Tardy, a 26-year-old defenseman, played two seasons in Sweden before returning to the States. His stats are modest – one goal and eight assists through 27 games – but his impact goes beyond numbers, Laxdal said.