Sheffield’s two clubs face off against each other tonight (7.30pm) - and fans will find out exactly how close the two are in terms of competitiveness.
Elite League Steelers should always have the upper hand over semi-pro English Premier Sheffield Steeldogs, ofcourse. But Steeldog’s draw with Elite League Hull recently pointed to an improvement under player coach Andre Payette.
This evening’s encounter comes after summer discussions between Payette and opposite number Ryan Finnerty. They have agreed a plan for greater communication between clubs - something that was lost in previously icy relations between the pair.
Shane Smith, Steeldogs owner, said: “I wanted to see the bridges put back in place to help see the players of the future have the best opportunities possible, be it by assistance on training from top level players or developing an excellent hockey school in Sheffield to ensure all the right coaching is in place.
“Hopefully this is the start of a brighter future for Sheffield hockey where we all work together.”
Payette added: “The Hull gmae was a tremendous opportunity for my guys to be able to play against Elite opposition; it allowed our players see how they measure up. I’m looking forward to a positive night for Sheffield hockey as well as seeing how we fare against an even higher level team.
“One of the most important things tonight though is working with the juniors. Our black jersey design is to show unity with both the Junior club and the Steelers.”