Clock is ticking for Sheffield Steelers to find injury replacement – but old boys can’t help out

Sheffield Steelers have made contact with four former defencemen as they desperately try to plug the gap caused by Mark Matheson’s broken foot.

Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 09:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 10:02 am
Joonas Ronnberg. Pic: Dean Woolley

The club called up Joonas Ronnberg, Jim Jorgensen, Christoffer Bjorklund and Russ Moyer to check out potential availability.

None were able to respond to the call-to-arms, so Steelers are continuing the hunt for a new blueliner before Friday's 11pm deadline.

Jim Jorgensen

The club has identified two players of particular interest but rate it no better than 50-50 in terms of a successful conclusion.

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At this moment, recruitment is a task performed in the first instance by backroom management staff, rather than coach Tom Barrasso. That will change if Barrasso leaves at the end of the season - the new coach will take the lead, according to owner Tony Smith.

He explained The Star: "Tom will give us his call on a player that we source; we try to find suitable players for him. Dave Simms, Shaun (Smith) Mike O'Connor and myself are all working in a combined effort.

"There is a network of agents who provide names and we take them to Tom.

Christoffer Bjorklundund

"Asked if the next coach would be specifically charged with recruiting Smith replied: "Yes, 100 per cent. We have to have active recruitment and to a high standard.

"Other clubs are already doing this for next season and we cannot miss out.

"We have a good support network but we will need a guy at the top who will bring his own take. 

"In football, the top clubs spend a long time actively scouting, it's not like that in the Elite League," he said.

Russ Moyer

"We are sent names by agents, look at the stats, sometimes get all excited - but then again it's the agents' job to give you these and the videos you get to see are only the good bits!"

He said of Barrasso: "I am not throwing Tom under the bus, he is black and white in what he tells us about players. He is not a recruiter but he made the call quickly on Ben O'Connor and Anthony DeLuca, when we found out they had become available. 

"But Tom does not come from a background where he leads the way in finding players."