Steelers slam 'totally unacceptable' delays at Sheffield Arena

Sheffield Steelers in action against Manchester Storm (pic: Dean Woolley)
Sheffield Steelers in action against Manchester Storm (pic: Dean Woolley)
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Sheffield Steelers have demanded an explanation over 'totally unacceptable' delays before and during yesterday's clash with Manchester Storm.

Fans faced delays getting into Sheffield Arena, with reports of long queues at security, and the match was then held up as repairs were needed to the ice ahead of the third period.

Damage to the ice (pic: Sheffield Steelers)

Damage to the ice (pic: Sheffield Steelers)

Some 8,000 fans poured into the venue for the exhibition game, which ended in a 5-4 victory to the home side, and supporters didn't let the hold-ups dampen their spirits.

But Steelers owner Tony Smith apologised to fans and called for an explanation from those running the venue.

"I'm sorry to all the fans who were delayed entering the building before the game, and for the further delays before the start of the third period," he said in a statement on the club's website.

"Both delays were, in my opinion, fully avoidable and I will be seeking an early appointment with the Arena management. This is totally unacceptable."

Mr Smith thanked fans for their patience during the night and said he hoped Sheffield Arena would address the issues before the Steelers welcome Coventry next Saturday.

Supporters were warned ahead of the new season that stricter security measures were being introduced in the wake of the Manchester terror attack.

But several fans criticised the arrangements on the day, claiming there were too few security staff and not all bags were checked despite people queuing outside for up to 45 minutes.

Marley Hamish said: "The arena staff looked like they didn't have a clue what they were doing, and the numbers were woefully less than required on the night!"

Emma Jones commented: "It was an absolute farce to get into the arena. Even though we arrived 20 minutes before the doors opened, we totally missed the warm up."

Mick Oldfield stated: "After we had waited 25 minutes to get in a couple more staff 'appeared' on the door and things started moving. The issue with the ice not being cut properly was just poor."

Trisha Waddingham was more understand, saying: "Things happen. It couldn't be helped. We still had a good night."

The Star has contacted Sheffield Arena for a response.