Huttel hopes Steelers go to top of the class

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COLLEGE boy Chad Huttel is a quick learner.

The 22-year-old is undergoing his first year education in professional hockey on the blueline of the British champions, Sheffield Steelers.

And while there is a lot to take in, the youngster is enjoying the playing experience, twinned with his management Masters studies at Sheffield Unversity.

Some people were surprised with coach Ryan Finnerty’s recruiting of a green horn import; Huttel arrived after three years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

But he says: “College hockey particular produces very good players, they’re young, but a lot are drafted, it is fast, good hockey. I have been adjusting to the pro style which is a little bit slower and in control. I’m making some mistakes but I’m working through that and getting better every day.”

He said that college hockey meant playing a season of less than 40 games a year. “It’s a little more physical because there is a lot riding on each game, there’s someone in your face all the time.

“But here, there’s not always a guy on you but you have to be ready for the big hit. Guys will step up on you and it’s physically demanding. We roll five ‘d’ and I’ve been getting a lot of ice time - college teams have six guys on the bench and 8-10 ‘D’ on roster. I am getting used to playing a lot and moving the puck up the ice.”

Huttel is not complacent about his side meeting struggling Hull and Fife, this weekend. “We have to work hard and take noting for granted.”www.thestar.co.uk