SHEFFIELD STEELERS: Devin DiDiomete: The player hockey fans love to hate

Left wing loudmouth: Devin DiDiomete.          Picture: richard murray
Left wing loudmouth: Devin DiDiomete. Picture: richard murray
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HE’S gobby, aggressive and with an ego the size of the province of Ontario, from whence he hails.

Welcome to Britain, devilish Devin DiDiomete, the ultimate example of how ice hockey can be the world’s least politically correct sport.

Since signing for Cardiff Devils - who open the regular programme at Sheffield Steelers on Saturday - he has accused rival Elite League players of cowardice and labelled followers of Coventry Blaze as ‘mutants’.

He has called Steelers official Dave Simms fat and big headed (he’s not that overweight!) In short, “Deeds” is a journalist’s dream and a rival fan’s hate-object. At 24-years- old, that’s not bad going.

Now, Sheffield fans are going to see what sort of a player he is.

Certainly, he can fight. The Canadian picked up 277 penalty minutes for Chicago Express in the ECHL. And he can play - 173 games in the AHL proves that...even if his goal scoring exploits are not something he can brag about.

DiDiomete and his new Welsh pals stand between Sheffield and a four point weekend, with back to back games.

Steelers’ coach Ryan Finnerty, something of a firebrand himself, is looking forward to making his acquaintance.

“It’s an education reading him on Twitter, he certainly is an entertainer and that will be partly why Cardiff got him in,” he said. “He can fight but you don’t play that many games in the AHL unless you can play too. He may have been a role player on the fourth line there, and didn’t see a lot of quality ice time, but Elite League teams cannot afford one-dimensional players any more...I hear he can skate, play and has good hands.

“He might not be their first line choice for Power Play but he can play and can get under your skin.”

Finnerty says his players must be aware when such an explosive individual is on the ice but hesays: “We have to have our head up for a lot of players - Cardiff are a good team and will surprise people. Stuart MacRae is one of the most consistent players around, then they have the likes of Max Birbraer and Mac Faulkner.”

Steelers have switched lines around since last weekend’s experimental start at home. I expect to see: Tait/Legue/Shields; Limpright/Pecker/Goertzen and Phillips/Hewitt/Michel against Cardiff.