It's a welcome sign of the times for Sheffield Steelers
A sign? No...much more than a sign.
Last Friday was a huge day for the Sheffield Steelers. Yes, I said Friday, but don’t worry you didn’t miss a game or a big signing announcement.
This was much more important that any of those. The Steelers, after all these years playing out of the Sheffield Arena, finally had a sign erected confirming that this great building was officially our home.
To many of you it’s just a sign, but to Steelers fans is much more than that. It’s a sign of belonging and a sign that our landlords at long last respect us and consider us a major part of their business.
When I posted a photo on social media the immediate response was: “About time” and of course all those people were right.
I though would like to look at it a different way.
In recent weeks, the progress made by the Steelers and SIV (Sheffield International Venues) has been excellent. A new communication line and open dialogue has been ongoing since the issues with the ice at the start of the year.
Allowing the sign to be erected is a huge thing for Steelers fans. I’m sure many still at SIV don’t quite understand why it means so much but I thank them for acknowledging the importance to us and making it happen.
Steelers fans aren’t concert goers. They don’t see the Arena as a simple venue that is attended maybe once in a blue moon for one of the great shows they have there. To Steelers fans the Fly DSA (Sheffield) Arena is HOME.
A place they have visited 30 times a year for 20 years. A place where they have made memories, made friends, experienced highs and lows. Shed tears of delight and tears of agony, experienced emotions that concert goers will never experience and understand.
Whilst that simple sign says “Home of the Sheffield Steelers” what it really says is: “Thank you for being a part of this city, this building in the past, today and in the future.”
I believe that the sign is a start of a new and exciting relationship between the Steelers and SIV. Both need each other equally. I think that both sides at long last understand each other’s requirements with both parties’ ready willing and able to assist the other.
n The King is back – well kind of...
Mathieu Roy was back in the line-up last Saturday for the game against Nottingham. He had a goal and an assist making an immediate impact but was missing the following night for the game in Dundee. Roy could be rested for Wednesday’s game in Edinburgh. I expect him to play at least one of the games this weekend against Cardiff and Belfast, both at the Arena.
Head Coach Paul Thompson has to manage the return of Roy very carefully.
The King is critical to Steelers, Thompson knows he can’t push him to hard or risks the possibility of losing him for a long period.
Steelers have to at least replicate last weekend’s three points this weekend with two home games against fellow conference sides Cardiff (Sat 7pm) and Belfast (Sun 5pm) whilst Sheffield sit in second place in the standings they have already dropped Conference points to Cardiff, Belfast and Nottingham in league play.
The positives are that in recent games the Steelers have shown consistency, something they lacked before the recent run. Give credit to the Steelers blue line as well, 13 games playing just 5 D, and for long periods of that time with injured member’s of the that core playing when perhaps they shouldn’t have.
Top job too to Jonas Westerling who centred Steelers fourth line so well, Thompson may have found the perfect linemate for Phillips and Kirk with the puck carrying centre.
New signing Andreas Jamtim has fitted in well with Tim Wallace. Both Roy and Marquardt have played with the duo as Thompson tries to find the right balance.
This weekend is crucial, games don’t come a lot bigger.