Brian McGrattan: Nottingham Panthers forward will make impact, says Scott Ricci

Brian McGrattan
Brian McGrattan celebrates with his Calgary team-mates after scoring against Vancouver in an NHL match in 2014

Forward Brian McGrattan will make an impact with Nottingham Panthers, says his former team-mate Scott Ricci.

McGrattan, 35, has played over 300 games in the NHL and his former clubs include Ottawa Senators and Calgary.

Ricci told BBC Radio Nottingham: "He is as big as you can get in regards to some of the enforcers in the NHL.

"Once the decline of the enforcer role started, Brian was one of those players who could still play. He's a good guy in the locker room and has good skill."

Defenceman Ricci iced for the Panthers in the 2004-05 season and also had a one-year spell with rivals Sheffield Steelers in 2006-07, before retiring from the sport.

In 2002-03, McGrattan and Ricci were team-mates at AHL side Binghamton Senators - a farm team of Ottawa - and where former Panther Guy Lepine now plays.

Canadian Ricci now lives in Ottawa, where McGrattan had a three-year spell with the Senators, playing 143 games from 2005 to 2008.

Brian McGrattan
McGrattan could make his Nottingham debut against fierce rivals Sheffield

"Panthers are not just getting a tough guy, you are getting a guy who can contribute in other ways," continued Ricci.

"I had a chance to play with Brian in his rookie year as a professional. He will work hard but will keep things light. He has a sense of humour."

McGrattan is set to fly into the country on Friday and make his debut for the club in Saturday's Challenge Cup tie with Sheffield Steelers at the National Ice Centre.

"The energy from the fans and the rivalry between the Nottingham and Sheffield fans is fair and it's fun," added Ricci.

"It's intense and those are the games when you played hockey, you really got up for.

"I do miss it. You were leaving your dream. You also realise a lot of people wanted to do the same thing but, for whatever reason, didn't get that chance.

"I never took it for granted and now I live through my children, who luckily have decided that they love hockey.

"My daughter is playing hockey and my son is now too, so I now get to be the proud parent."