Flashback: Sheffield Steelers star wades into a Nottingham Panthers NHL'er...meanwhile there's free booze in the press room

Nicky Chinn - always good for a quote
Nicky Chinn - always good for a quote
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Sheffield Steelers' players have long had a reputation for stirring things up.

And in the annals of history at the House of Steel, none more than Nicky Chinn.

Nicky Chinn, with Tommy Plommer and Tim Cranston...one heck of a line

Nicky Chinn, with Tommy Plommer and Tim Cranston...one heck of a line

Twenty years ago today, the Welsh winger set the fuse burning for the new ice hockey season by ridiculing 6ft 5ins Nottingham Panther new signing Kraig Neinhuis as a 'goon.'

Great Britain forward Chinn told The Star he’d played against him previously and didn’t rate him, despite his undoubted pedigree in the best leagues in the world.

“As he big as he is (6ft 3ins) it didn’t stop me running him over a couple of times” said the no-nonsense Steeler (1995-98.)

In fairness, his Canadian rival had played 89 games for Boston Bruins in the NHL and after a successful point-a-game year at Nottingham moved on to a bigger-paying team in Milan.

More significantly for press representatives reporting on the Steelers back then in July 1997, the club announced a new sponsorship deal with Coors Lager, in that month.

Sponsorship announcements don't always make the headlines.

But this one meant copious amounts of free booze after games.

This fact alone perked up considerably more interest in the club and its sponsorship arrangements than normal, from certain sections of the media.

Writers and photographers who previously turned their noses up at lager, in favour of traditional beer, suddenly developed a new taste...and not just for ice hockey.