TOM SQUIRES believes he was the victim of a “character assassination” by Sheffield Steelers, after he left the club.
The 21-year-old city-born winger came in for some criticism when he moved, against Steelers’ wishes, to Sheffield Steeldogs, before eventually landing a spot at Elite League Hull Stingrays.
Steelers’ official Dave Simms claimed at the time that Squires had become “too comfortable” in his home city where people were “telling him he was a superstar.”
Simms said Squires had needed to evolve away from Sheffield influences.
The player, who has done well at Elite level this season after inexplicably flopping at lower-division Steeldogs, said: “I don’t know where all that superstar stuff came from at all.
“I definitely did not think I was a superstar; it certainly wasn’t the case that I ever thought I was above my station.
“Things like that can be hurtful unless you take them with a pinch of salt and try and laugh them off, as after all it wasn’t true.
“But at the end of the day it was a character assassination.”
Squires made an immediate impression when he made his November 1 debut for Hull, scoring at Cardiff Devils and then staking an assist at Fife Flyers, three days later.
Last weekend, he notched two points against Braehead Clan.
Yet things didn’t go right at English Premier Steeldogs, where there were rumours he was ‘put on notice’ because of indifferent form in front of goal.
Squires, though, blames himself more than the iceSheffield club, of whom he speaks highly.
“I couldn’t get going for them (two assists in 13 games) and couldn’t score.
“It wasn’t going right, it was a weird experience and I can’t put my finger on why, even now.
“You get those spells though where lots of things all come together all at the wrong time.
“The club did tell me I had to improve, but that was a given as I was not scoring and so they had to kick me up the backside and push me in the right direction.
“Looking back I am impressed by the way they handled the situation, especially in letting me play for Hull. Everybody wants to play at the top available level,
“I can’t fault the Steeldogs’ organisation. Although I am still baffled why I couldn’t score there.”
Squires says he is enjoying playing at Hull with Jason Silverthorn and Janis Ozolins.
“It is a great line, I play on the power play and penalty kill and I am getting considerably more shifts than I did at Steelers.”
Squires will face Steelers, for the first time on December 22. Ryan Finnerty’s men entertain Cardiff tomorrow night.
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