The Sheffield Steelers’ team that faces off a new season this weekend is the most expensively-acquired squad since the Grand Slam side of 2001.
Club spokesman David Simms said owner Tony Smith’s “spend has been incredible” on the new-look line up, that defends its league championship in 2016-17.
“If anything this team has cost more than the 2001 side with Dennis Vial, Paul Beraldo and the like” he said, acknowledging that the club - at that time - went on to experience massive financial problems. That is 15 years ago, so it tells you something about the intervening years and how we have built up again.
“Now we have 12 forwards, not 10, and we are in a much safer business environment: we have spent more on players to give the fans their money’s worth.”
Briths defenceman Ben O’Connor is impressed by what he has seen of the new group. “You always get a feeling about a new side and my feeling is that we are in a better place. We have skilled guys, big guys, shooters...everything to make you feel optimistic.”
Steelers start the programme with back-to-back friendlies against Aalborg Pirates, of Denmark, on Saturday and Sunday at iceSheffield.
Meanwhile Simms says the two new imports he most expects to see make waves are centremen John Amstrong and Andreas Valdix.
“I think those two will be a huge hit.”