Northstars general manager Garry Doré reported that the weekend was “awesome” and said "saying goodbye to the boys was pretty hard for everyone”.
Ondrej Smach in Melbourne on May 18. Picture: Phil Taylor
Smach will return to Czech as planned, while Gabaj will also return home to heal following successful surgery on his thumb following an injury sustained on Saturday, May 18 versus Melbourne Ice in the first period.
At the time, Gabaj was leading the AIHL in scoring.
Gabaj scored nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points from his first six games, including two consecutive hat tricks in a weekend in Adelaide.
It was during this seventh games of the AIHL season when Gabaj was injured.
Dominik Gabaj in the Northstars opening game of 2019. Picture: PowerPlay Photographics
Smach leaves the AIHL with five goals and 10 assists from his 10 games played with the Northstars, many of those assists coming from the powerplay where Smach’s ability to move and pass the puck was sublime.
Smach was always intending to play a partial season in the AIHL due to his limited availability.
The two departures leave the Northstars with two import places to fill.
The Northstars are currently finalising paperwork and will announce new players once they become available.