Thompson puzzled by Dowd exit

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GREAT BRITAIN boss Paul Thompson says he is mystified why Rob Dowd has walked out on Sheffield Steelers for Belfast Giants.

Dowd, 22, has been the only Brit to quit at the end of a title winning 2010-11 season.

And the move across the water has surprised Thompson, GB and Coventry Blaze boss.

“I think Sheffield should never have let him out of their sight,” said Thompson. “I think he is the most electrifying, vibrant, high-energy goal scoring British player in the country. I like the way he plays, he might be a small guy in stature but he is high tempo in everything the does. I’d have loved him at Coventry.

“Why has he left the best team in the country? If he needed a challenge why not stay and defend the league championship at Steelers? I don’t understand kids sometimes.

“Maybe he has had a 20 or 30 per cent raise and that’s made his mind up!

“But one day he’ll be playing in Europe. For Steelers, though, that’s going to be a big hole to fill, he scored a good few goals last year. Losing Dowd is going to hurt them.”

Thompson also paid tribute to Ashley Tait who, like Dowd, performed well for silver-medal winning GB in the World Championships in Ukraine.

He said: “At 35, he’s still at the top of his game. Ashley’s such an all rounder, he might not be as spectacular as Dowd but he is defensively solid, kills penalties, good on the Power Play and a wily veteran who does everything.”