With just a matter of days until the Cardiff Devils get their second straight Champions Hockey League campaign underway, the back to back EIHL champions were dealt a huge blow as newly signed Tom Parisi quit the side, just days after arriving in the South Wales capital.
Parisi was announced to the Devils fans ahead of last Sunday’s game against HK Poprad from Slovakia, and just four days later the club announced he was heading back to North America.In a press release by the Devils, Parisi apologised for his decision, revealing he’s not only quit the team but also the sport.
“I want to apologise to the Devils Organisation and their fans for doing this, but my heart is not into hockey anymore.” Parisi said.
“It isn’t anything to do with the team or the league or the city, I just want to move on outside of hockey.
“I should not have signed with the Devils without being 100% committed to the team, so I am sorry and I wish them well for the season.”
With the announcement just before 5pm, Devils fans reacted with a mixture of best wishes for Parisi’s future outside of hockey, as well as expected frustration that the latest signing is walking away just four days into his tenure as a Devil.
The former Providence College captain joined the Devils after two tough years in the AHL in the Montreal Canadiens farm system, after signing a two-year entry level deal with the Canadiens after wrapping up his college career.
While his time in the AHL didn’t see the 25-year-old American land a stint in the NHL, his arrival in South Wales sparked a lot of excitement through his speed, vision and offensive touch, something the Devils needed to bring in following the departure of Andrew Hotham earlier in the summer.
Head Coach Andrew Lord expressed his shock at the announcement as well in the Devils press release.
“I am shocked, that is the only way to describe this.” Lord explained
“He just arrived on Sunday and he seemed like he was really looking forward to getting things going and a fresh start after a couple difficult seasons in the AHL where he didn’t enjoy the game all that much.
“I was really looking forward to the opportunity to get him excited about hockey again.
“He asked to speak to me Wednesday afternoon and told me that he just didn’t want to play hockey anymore and that the last couple of years have worn him out.”
The Devils are now back to bringing just four new faces into the lineup with forwards Mike Hedden, Stephen Dixon, Charles Linglet and the lone addition on the blueline being Ben Blood.
There’s no update on whether the Devils will be looking to replace Parisi following his departure, with their preparations well underway for their opening CHL game next Thursday at home against Red Bull Salzburg of Austria.
Preparations also continue as the Devils aim for a “three-peat” trying to become to first side in the EIHL to win the league three years straight, and even with Parisi gone the squad looks like they have the strength to really contend once again, but it’s going to be a tough task as the league gears up for what should be one of its most competitive ever.
Featured Image – Colin Peddle