Sheffield Steelers have added a tough and experienced winger to their line up for next season.
Canadian Levi Nelson, a playmaker and a scorer with 150 AHL games under his belt, should provide the grittiness up front that coach Paul Thompson will also be demanding of his new-look defence.
Nelson, 27, can play centre or left wing. He iced last year for Idaho Steelheads
The player has had spells in Europe before, to Germany in 2011/12 where he scored 28 goals in 31 games for Kaufbeuren and Italy (2013/14) where he teamed up with former Steelers’ skipper Rob Wilson to win the Italian league and cup double with Ritten scoring 49 points in 40 games.
“We needed a player like this” said head coach Paul Thompson “Levi will bring a physical element to our offence. He will get under the skins of opponents, finish hits and go to the ‘dirty’ areas. He can score and make plays. He adds another dimension to us. He competes every shift, every night and I expect him to score important goals for us.
“I couldn’t have had a better referee than Rob Wilson. Because of the relationship we have I could ask him all the questions a coach needs to know. Rob was adamant he’d do a great job and was suited to our game over here and the Sheffield way. I think the Steelers fans are going like this guy but I’m not to sure that the opponents supporters will!”
Nelson, his wife and daughter will arrive in Sheffield early in August once work permit and visa applications have been accepted said: “It’s a new challenge, a new opportunity and one I am excited about. I did my homework on Sheffield like I am sure they did on me. We both liked what we found out I guess. I know guys in the league and they told me Sheffield and Paul Thompson were super organised and professional. They are a team that competes every night for trophies and I’m a player that competes every night for my team. I think this is a great fit for me. I wish I could get on the plane tomorrow.”
The former Boston Bruins draft pick added: “Paul and I spoke several times, he explained what he wanted and I explained what I can do. I’m a good skater and I play with energy, a lot of energy.
“Like every guy I love to score goals, who doesn’t. I can make plays too, I play hard. In my early days I guess I was known more for that style of play but over the years I’ve learned to be smarter.
If I draw a penalty and we score on the powerplay then of course I’m happy. For me it’s about the team.”
Nelson will make his debut for Steelers on the 15th August in the Holiday Inn Royal Victoria Cup weekend at iceSheffield against Braehead Clan. The following week the Steelers play the first of four Champions Hockey league games in Gothenburg against Frolunda.