Dave Simms: Steelers coach's excitement after the draw for Champions Hockey League
The Sheffield Steelers returned from the Champions Hockey League draw on Tuesday in Zurich - and now await confirmation on the schedule of games against both HV71 Jonkoping and Red Bull Salzburg.
Two teams from the round robin format will proceed into the next group stages.
“We have provided the CHL with our ice availability and preferred dates,” said Steelers coach Paul Thompson.
“We talked at length with the two clubs we will be playing against, and they are excited to be coming to Sheffield.
“Frolunda had already advised HV71 of what a terrific experience they had when they visited.
“The Olympic qualification tournament has caused a bit of an issue with scheduling, which is one of the reasons we ended up in the group we have.
“Having spoken with the CHL and the two other clubs, though, we are confident of a good schedule for both the clubs and the fans.
“Last year the location of the teams we played made it very hard for supporters to make it to both of our road games.
“This year it seems a little easier for fans to travel.
“Both HV71 and Red Bull have heard about our travelling support and will encourage them to follow us.
“The date we have been given by the league is the 12th for schedule confirmation. I’m sure the club and the CHL will be going back and forth between now and then.”
Thompson revealed he had already been in touch with several players who followed the draw live on the internet.
“I had several texts,” he confirmed.
“It’s good that players are interested in who we are playing and are excited already about the competition. We are all excited about the CHL; just being at the draw yesterday with the others 47 clubs had my juices flowing.
“These are the biggest and best teams in Europe. This is where we want to be.
“It’s what drives us through the regular season.”