Sheffield Steelers coach blasts ‘unfair and stupid’ League ruling over Cardiff Devils final

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Sheffield Steelers’ coach Paul Thompson has condemned the “stupid” League ruling which forces them to play the night before Sunday’s Challenge Cup Final in Cardiff.

Home side Devils have the benefit of playing on their own ice and also have no game on the Saturday night.

And they “stamped their feet” to prevent a change in Steelers fixture list.

Thompson said Cardiff’s stance was backed by “that stupid League ruling,” even though Coventry Blaze, Saturday’s visitors to the Sheffield Arena, had agreed to the change.

“They (Cardiff) don’t play the day before and we do, but we just have to stay in the hunt” said Thompson.

“I don’t think it’s fair at all. It is an Elite League event.”

Fife Flyers score against Sheffield Steelers on Sunday. Pic by Martin Watterston

Fife Flyers score against Sheffield Steelers on Sunday. Pic by Martin Watterston

Thompson though said the block on Steelers switching fixtures would act as a motivation for them to go on and win the Final - which in itself could supercharge their end of season League results.

“We are one game, one win away from the first trophy of the season” he said.

“I’d like it to be us, even though Cardiff have been handed a huge advantage” he said.

“We are excited about the Cup, we are very motivated to go and win down there.

“We will have half the arena full of our fans, which is going to be great, we want that first piece of silverware and two great teams in the League are vying for that.”

The coach is awaiting news on centreman Andreas Valdix, although he and the player himself are confident he will return from injury this coming weekend.

Robert Dowd’s situation is uncertain, he is still feeling the effects of a cross-check to the jaw.

Sheffield’s 6-3 defeat at Fife Flyers on Sunday further derailed an all-ready unlikely Steelers assault on the title.

But Thompson’s men are under orders to continue winning every game possible, hoping the pressure gets to the leaders.

FACTSPOT: Sheffield Steelers are eight points behind leaders Cardiff Devils and a single point behind Belfast Giants, with seven Elite League games left to play. They have won only one less than Devils in regulation time.

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