Matt Wetini has answered the call from Northstars coach John Kennedy jnr for Newcastle's national league double header in Melbourne this weekend.
Wetini, who won back-to-back titles with the Northstars in 2015 and 2016, played his last game for Newcastle at the end of 2018 and comes in as cover following a season-ending injury to Dominik Gabaj.
Kennedy jnr needed some short-term reinforcements for the Australian Ice Hockey League frontrunners after Slovakian Gabaj had surgery this week on a broken thumb suffered during Saturday's win at home.
This coincides with the pending departure of Czech defender Ondrej Smach, who had always intended to return home mid-season following clashes with the Mustangs on Saturday (5pm) and Ice on Sunday (2pm).
Kennedy jnr said he was "hopeful of unveiling two new imports" next month.
In the meantime Wetini, who was awarded the club's most improved and best Australian player in 2014, will help fill the void for the Northstars.
"We've got one of our old Northstars back this weekend," Kennedy jnr said.
"Matt Wetini is coming on the road and it's super exciting to have him back.
"It's good being able to call on a player like that to help us out in this situation."
Kennedy jnr confirmed Gabaj, who had been leading the competition for individual points, would now be "out for the remainder of the season".
"It's disappointing for everyone and he'd just been starting to find his feet here," the Newcastle mentor said.
"But he has a long pro career ahead of him and it's an opportunity for one of the other guys to step up."
The Northstars, who started the year 7-0, beat the Ice on Saturday but lost to the Mustangs on Sunday.