Former world champion Clinton Woods says Zack Fitzgerald might have a future in the boxing ring, if he quits punching people in ice hockey!
The American skater, who has been Sheffield Steelers’ enforcer for the past two years, has been sharpening up for the forthcoming season by training at Woods’ gym in Westfield.
He has discovered a few new tricks of the trade under Woods’ tutelage - and the trainer believes a few painful nights lie ahead for his opponents in the 2017-18 season.
“Obviously, it’s a lot different fighting on ice than on the canvas” said Woods, IBF light heavyweight champion from 2005-8.
“But the principals maybe the same, and Zack is a big bloke naturally, he has certainly got a lot of power and whacks hard.
“For a big guy he is quite fast and his balance is bang on.
“I have been trying to preach the value of straight shots. They always beat a swing.
“That way he’ll knock and few more helmets off, it’ll be carnage at the Sheffield Arena!”
Woods certainly has respect for the sport of ice hockey.
“Their players are a different species, there are no airs and graces with them and I appreciate what they must go through playing several times a week.
“Zack is a top bloke and I hope to see him smash up a few opponents next season. If he gets bored, he could always try his hand at boxing!”
Fitzgerald, 31, said training in the gym in Westfield was “fun.”
“Yeah, it is a good change-up and a nice work-out” he told The Star.
“On the ice you are twisting on your skates and for most the most part trying to keep balanced from a good base.
“It’s not like you are centre ring, feet planted, and able to throw the perfect punch.
“In boxing training, sometimes though I will be hitting padding that Clinton wears in his mid-section and he is just laughing at me!
“Boxing is completely different, you throw from the shoulder while there are lots of big, wide haymakers in hockey.
“It is great cardio, gets the sweat going and is a great for the core and arms. Clinton doesn’t give you much rest!”
*Steelers have added 18 year old promising goalie Angus Laing to their roster for the 2017-18 season.
Coach Paul Thompson has signed Laing to 'a non contractual two way agreement' with Sutton Sting with the goalie being part of the Steelers squad and practising full time with the team.
“Angus has practised with us before” said Thompson “and has impressed me with his workmate and attitude."
*Ex-Steelers’ winger and assistant coach Marc Lefevbre, who quit his job at Dundee Stars, recently is likely to emerge in a management role at Cincinnati Cyclones in the ECHL, a team affiliated to Buffalo Sabres in the NHL.
His former partner at Steelers Doug Christiansen, we understand, recently applied for the Braehead Clan coaching role, but the job went to John Tripp, who had been in charge at German DEL2 outfit Eispiraten Crimmitshau.
*On this day in 1997: Sheffield Steelers and Scimitars forward Dean Smith quit British ice hockey at the age of 22. He claimed the sport was becoming too dominated by Canadian imports. Around the same time, Les Millie, a hard-working winger, was also pondering hanging up his boots. But he found a new lease of life - and carried on playing for another 10 years!