Ryan to make own decison

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RYAN Finnerty will decide himself whether he will play next season – or turn his attentions to full-time coaching at Sheffield Steelers.

The Star revealed yesterday that owner Tony Smith had agreed a second year for Finnerty, who currently juggles the roles of being a feisty winger and a first year team boss.

Finnerty has endured back problems for years – and will be given the choice of whether or not he hangs up his skates. For the time being, the Canadian will be more focused on bringing a trophy back to the Arena.

Smith said: “I don’t have a crystal ball on how this season will pan out but what I can tell you is Ryan Finnerty is the right man for the Steelers job.

“He has a work ethic second to none - he is first in last out seven days of every week and has the respect of the room and leads by example.

“Is he another (title-winning coach) Ben Simon? No, he is Ryan Finnerty - very much his own man who takes no prisoners on or off the ice.

“He understands the Sheffield fans.

“His style of play and desire to win is infectious - it’s not only spreading to the players but to the fans who are giving him a massive vote of confidence by turning up in bigger numbers each game.”

As for playing, Smith added: “That’s his choice. If his back is bad then he retires and takes on the full-time coaching job; there’s no pressure from me.

“Ryan will know when the time is right to concentrate on coaching. From a finance point of view it’s a win-win situation to have a player coach but the bigger picture is to bring success back to Steelers fans and I believe Ryan Finnerty can do just that.”