Save our Shudras: Sheffield Steelers and junior ice hockey must take heed

Ron Shudra
Ron Shudra
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Rocket Ron Shudra joining the Nottingham ice hockey programme?

No…

For football fans it would be like Chris Waddle going to Sheffield United or Neil Warnock managing Wednesday. It just can’t happen.

But it might if Sheffield Ice Hockey Academy doesn’t sort itself out smartish.

The academy appears to be in danger of losing two generations of this city’s biggest ice hockey brand.

Ron and Tate Shudra, to be precise.

Ron Shudra. Considering the unthinkable

Ron Shudra. Considering the unthinkable

One a Steelers’ legend, the other his younger son, a promising hockey hopeful who might just have a spot of Dad’s Edmonton Oilers DNA in him.

SIHA Junior coach Mike Szollosy is one of a number of voices claiming the academy is losing junior members and has not been following its own Constitution rules.

On Wednesday a vote will be taken on a potential change of leadership and Chairman Joe Walker seems under pressure in a vote which will decide who will take the organisation forward.

The future of the SIHA appears in the balance and those kids’ parents who have to find £650 a year to be a part of it deserve some further clarity from a group that doesn’t appear to have had an AGM for three years - despite its constitutional requirements.

The club may well be on a sound financial footing, for all I know. And there are frequently dissenting voices within sporting organisations involving kids and their parents. Local football can be a hotbed for such disagreement.

But SIHA needs to be publicly seen to be doing the right things. Some parents want a more inclusive regime.

People like Ron Shudra and Sozollosy who are already warning Sheffield will lose young talent to Nottingham, Sutton-In Ashfield and Bradford because youngsters and their parents are getting fed up with the atmosphere at iceSheffield.

Ron Shudra’s 19-year-old lad Cole will be continuing his development at Elite League Milton Keynes to further his development and 13-year old Tate - who one day might just be the next NHL draft after Liam Kirk’s massive potential leap to the big league in the US– could follow his dad should he decide to move the 42.4 miles south into Panthers territory.

But it’s not really about stars, or future stars. It’s about kids, their hopes and dreams and being encouraged to get the best out of themselves.

That’s what appears to be at stake and SIHA owes those kids, their parents and Sheffield some reassurance, if nothing else.