Poignant Arena tribute to Sheffield Steelers' starlet Alex Graham

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But the ice hockey club’s bandwagon only rolled out again for a new season, after a poignant tribute to a lost and much-treasured son.

On the first available occasion at Sheffield Arena – Saturday’s exhibition against Nottingham Panthers – the club demonstrated their affection and compassion for the late Alex Graham, with a short ceremony and video montage in honour of the 20-year-old winger who died in June.

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Fans of both clubs joined in the impeccably observed tribute before hostilities recommenced on ice.

The late Alex GrahamThe late Alex Graham
The late Alex Graham

Afterward the game, which Steelers won 4-1, Sheffield coach Aaron Fox said the moment had been a “touching and emotional one.

“There were not many dry eyes in the building.”

Fox said it had been an “awful situation” but fans and representatives of both clubs had shown due respect to the tragic player.

Graham passed away at his home in Dronfield.

No cause of death has been made public.

Steelers also paid their respects to Great Britain forward Mike Hammond who died in a car accident in Canada, in July.