Sheffield’s new ice hockey boss happy to feel the heat at Steelers

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New Sheffield Steelers assistant coach Jerry Andersson says he will relish working in the pressure cooker atmosphere of the Elite League.

The Swedish hockey veteran accepts that his role alongside Paul Thompson is potentially stressful, as expectations are so high.

And with Sheffield fans clamouring for a third-straight championship, Andersson - who celebrated his 57th birthday on South Yorkshire soil on Saturday - knows it will be a demanding task.

Asked about being under the spotlight in his debut year he replied that successful managers always manage to cope with pressure.

Other teams will beat you unless you are the “best staff members every day” he said, adding: “You have to like the pressure and I have no problem with that.”

Andersson was impressed with the club its facilities.

“Since I took the decision to work with Steelers I’ve had good feelings every day.”

He said he looked forward to starting work in earnest, with both young prospects and the Steelers’ squad.

His leadership skills, and international hockey experience should help, he added. “Four eyes look better than two.”

Andersson had a modest playing career - like Thompson he turned out to be a much better coach and administrator than he was out on the ice as a defenceman.

Asked if he was a good player, he replied: “No, I was lazy.

“I could see the game well, I had a good shot, but I was a bad skater. I didn’t work for it enough, I played soccer and it was just a joke for me to play hockey.” He played at the second highest league in Sweden, but at the time it was not professional.

Andersson had an astonishing 37 seasons at IF Troja-Ljungby. Thompson was with him there 2013-14 before the Brummie left for Denmark.

Both men left around the same time, Andersson for ASC Corona Brasov, of Romania.

Asked about his decision to quit Troja, he said: “It was game over, for me I didn’t have the right energy in the last season.”

He’d had a good understanding with Thompson but the new coaching regime “went another way and when you don’t have more than 49% of majority in sports it is time to leave.”

After two years away he has thought with fondness about the club, but not it was a now a “big privilege” to work with Steelers and he was looking ahead, rather than behind.

“Tommo is one of the absolute top European coaches and to work with him was a big happening” he said.

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