Luke Ferrara is preparing for the biggest year in his short career - knowing he has to show his potential.
The 22-year-old Sheffield Steeler wants to win more ice time and build on his experience of his first full year at the Arena.
“It’s my time to show what I can do,” he said.
“It might only be my second year pro but with the Steelers you have to grab your opportunities or they find someone else who can.
“I’m not going to heap pressure on myself ahead of the new year, hockey still has to be fun, but I am under no illusion what a tough year this will be.
“It will also be a year of great opportunity with the club playing four lines it will mean a regular spot for me, or so I hope.
“Last year was tough.
“Depending on injuries and who was in and out of the line up determined what ice I saw.
“I’m confident in my progress and I know Thommo [head coach Paul Thompson] wants me to play a bigger part in the team this year, I’m definitely up for that.
“I want to make it hard for Paul not to play me.
“I want him to know I can play in all situations, I want him to be confident enough in me to play me in those situations.
“I won’t let him or the team down.”
Ferrara lives in his native Peterborough but commutes to Sheffield regularly to meet up with fitness coach Danny Mawer.
“None of us like the gym but at this time of the year it’s where the important work is done,” he added.
“I think I had two weeks off before starting again. Danny is incredible, I get a text or a call off him every day.
“He keeps an eye on us all, he monitors us so even if we are training on our own we can’t cheat him. I know if I’m going to make the step up, show Thommo what I have then I have to come back in the best shape of my life.
“I know that because I see the others working hard and doing the same as I am. I see the two young guys Kirk and Shudra working out and they want my spot, well I want one of the places above me right now. It’s what drives you. I see Jonathan Phillips and look at what he, Jason Hewitt and Mark Thomas achieved here and how they are looked up to and thought of. I strive to emulate them and have a career as successful as them
“Hewey was a great help to me, I will miss him. The team will. In fact he is irreplaceable. It’s up to all of us to step up and take on his roles.”