OTTAWA (AP) _ Former NHL forward Dennis Vial is extending his hockey career by playing in Sheffield, England.

Vial, 31, last played in the NHL for the Ottawa Senators in 1997-98. Although he has scored only four goals, Sheffield Steelers coach Mike Blaisdell singles him out as the main reason the club is in first place.

``I asked the players who they wanted as captain and, without exception, they all voted for Vial,'' Blaisdell told the Ottawa Citizen. ``It was nothing like the American presidential election.''

Vial was ready to retire last year and return to his home city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., after being released following a tryout with the Buffalo Sabres. When he got the call from the Steelers, he and his wife, Melissa, decided living in England would be an adventure.