Sheffield v Manchester – the War of the Roses – even a boy from Birmingham like me can get excited when two teams meet from these cities.
This weekend the two meet on the ice for the first time in years as Steelers take on the reformed Manchester Storm, it brings back great memories of these two huge names in our sport playing to packed houses at the Sheffield Arena and the MEN Arena in the “good old days”
Well it may not be quiet the same now as Manchester play out of the rink in Altrincham but there is something special, exciting about the return of the Storm, and the thought of them coming back into our building this Sunday.
Omar Pacha is their head coach. When Hull Stingrays passed away he quickly moved into the position in Manchester and took the British stars of his Hull side with him. Players like GB Internationals Davey Phillips and Matty Davies.
Storm will be trying to bring the good times back to Manchester. They will be reminding the thousands of people who used to enjoy hockey in that city of the great times they shared, many of them with Steelers.
Who can forget playing in front of 17,000 in a SOLD-OUT barn (even though half the tickets were given away) - what a night that was. What about the bench clearance brawl with the Steelers – Scottie Allison and Rob Trumblay coming out of the respective penalty boxes to join the mass altercation with Paul Beraldo seeking revenge on Corey Spring for a hit months earlier that had almost ended Beraldo’s career.
The night Steelers coach Mike Blaisdell got into a war of words with Storm Boss Terry Christensen. The two clashed with just plexi glass separating two angry men. All of a sudden the left arm of Blaisdell swung around the glass catching the Manchester coach – they don’t make them like that any more do they? As Steeler fans we would be as excited for those Sheffield v Manchester games as we would be for the games against that village side down the M1.
Could it be the same again? Why not?
Geography plays a part and these boys are our closest rivals. Already the Storm are drawing well at home. Many fans who have been away from the game in the Storm’s absence are returning. They might not have sat navs in Manchester yet but they still have their old A-Z’s.
They remember where the Sheffield Arena is and on Sunday they will once again come in numbers to cheer their team on in the first competitive game between these two clubs since 2003.
Steelers, the Storm, the Panthers, the sport as a whole needs these rivalries.
This Steelers side must already excites you, or those of you with a pulse.
It’s been many a year since we have seen such a fast, dynamic and attacking Sheffield team. One that can defence into attack in a blink of the eye.
Jeff Legue will have another chance on Sunday to set another Steelers record, the first player to score 100 EIHL goals at the Sheffield Arena. Did you know his first Steelers goal, a one time on the power-play was scored against Manchester? (The Phoenix not the Storm) Remember to keep your eye on Legue this Sunday and go wild, making the occasion so special if he finds the back of the net.
See you on Sunday, Steelers v Manchester Storm at the Sheffield Arena, face off 5pm.