A new ice age dawns for Sheffield Ice Hockey programme - and Ron Shudra is part of it

A new era has begun at Sheffield's ice hockey academy after members voted in changes they hope will improve their chances of finding the next Liam Kirk-style prospect.

Saturday, 16th June 2018, 11:18 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 5:08 pm
Liam Kirk - Made in Sheffield
Liam Kirk - Made in Sheffield

The organisation also hopes to keep hold of Steelers’ legend Ron Shudra, who was dumped by the previous administration from his role as Head Coach, and been linked to the rival Nottingham programme.

And SIHA, which has 200 junior members, wants to help make it easier for players to develop - there were issues a few years ago when current Steeler Cole Shudra encountered obstacles when he wanted to skate with the adult Steeldogs.

Ron Shudra playing for Sheffield Scimitars against Manchester Phoenix at iceSheffield in September 2006

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The Star recently revealed conflict between then-chairman Joe Walker and some members, leading to suspensions being dished out. Walker, a haulage boss, was replaced after last Wednesday’s election by Worksop company manager Neil Rushby, 45.

Rushby told The Star: “Ron has agreed to assist the academy and help out with training. He has been a valuable club member for years and we welcome the chance to continue to work with him and the children will benefit hugely from his experience.”

He said problems highlighted in The Star - including the loss of players and coaches to rival organisations- were “not unique to Sheffield academy.

“The door is open for them to return. The academy is far from broken and with a new committee in place we’re looking to build on work done by the previous committee.

Neil Rushby

“I want the brand of #MadeInSheffield to be part of Sheffield hockey. The Stanley Cup was made in Sheffield and we want to create more players capable of playing at the highest level but most importantly making the children the best they can possible be not just in hockey, but also discipline, respect and willingness to work.

“Liam played all his junior hockey at Sheffield and there is no reason why we can’t produce more players of his calibre, that has to be the aim of all the local teams working together with one goal.”

SIHA were League winner and national finalists in the U11s, runner up and national finalists in the U13s, runner up and national finalists in the U15s and had players representing Conference, England and GB.

Some children are now going to Canada having passed trials to play and be educated there.

Junior ice hockey in Sheffield

“From a new committee position we will be looking to increase both ice time and increase the off-ice activities to equip the children with knowledge to increase their skills and development at home as well as at the rink” said Rushby.

“I will be looking to create partnerships with SIV as well as the Steelers and Steeldogs so we can have two player streams in the club which will allow movement of players.

“We will have an Elite and Development stream for all players and look to give feedback in terms of where they are and where they need to develop their skills.

“We need to give the children the best chance of being the next Liam Kirk but also developing skills for those that just want to play hockey and have fun.

Junior ice hockey in Sheffield

“We have lots of work to do but I’m really excited about the ideas formulating at the moment.”