ANTHONY STEWART joins the GMB Panthers direct from the NHL!

Carolina Hurricanes' forward Anthony Stewart has signed a short-term contract with the GMB Panthers and will make his home debut against the Cardiff Devils on Tuesday night.

The six feet two inch winger has an impressive resume and has shown his commitment to his 'new team' by skipping his son's first birthday to make himself available for a flight this week.

The 27-year-old is available because of the NHL "lock-out" which means there are currently no games being played in the world's top professional league.

Last season the Canadian continued his NHL career at Carolina having previously played for Florida, who drafted him in the first round, 25th overall, as recently as 2003.

He has also played for Atlanta in an NHL career spanning six seasons.
His stats for last year saw him record 20 points for the Hurricanes in 77 matches. In all he has played in 262 NHL games and has a further 207 AHL games to his credit. He was also at the World Junior Championships with the Candian U18s and U20s.

Coach Corey Neilson told the website : "I'm genuinely thrilled to see him joining us, for however long. The lock-out has opened up some doors, we've already announced Guy Lepine is returning as an indirect result of the NHL dispute, now we're bringing in someone of Anthony's character and ability. The support from management in bringing this about has been fantastic. The boss picked up the baton less than 24 hours ago and with backing from the chairman here we are making an announcement of this nature. Fantastic!"

A club spokeswoman added : "We will always do our best to entertain our brilliant fans, who have been at the top of their game so far this season."

There's still a bit of paperwork to sort out, like the international clearance but that should be straight forward. The flight, the contract, the short-term visa requirements are all in place and the agent has told us Anthony's bags are packed and he's ready to jump on a 'plane.