ICE HOCKEY: Extra imports set to complete bumper Steelers squad

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Sheffield Steelers aim to sign two more imports this week - the penultimate additions to what is evolving into a remarkably deep roster.

The club is heading into season 2012-13 with a recession-defying 12 forwards - four full lines and five defencemen.

They also are likely to bring in another import defencemen once the campaign has started. That will be 12 forwards and six d-men. Compare that to the recklessly-expensive Grand Slam-winning team of 2000-1 which started off with two fewer players.

Owner Tony Smith has been able to budget for the bumper squad based on projected income generated by a more exciting product than last year - and the fact the the University of Sheffield is providing masters courses to no fewer than five players.

That free educational package has been a major incentive to those coming into the Elite League and attracts players who would not come for the salary on offer, alone.

One of the two new imports is expected to avail himself of the Uni place.

The new men who are expected to sign this week are both left-shots, from central Canada.

While neither have experience of European hockey, they both have years of experience in the junior leagues. So far so good in terms of a quality squad, then, especially given the arrival of new British talent in Colin Shields and Danny Meyers.

Shortly it will be the task of coach Ryan Finnerty to put names on paper into a team with a chemistry that can retrieve the league championship from Belfast Giants.