Sheffield Steelers: Yared Hagos hunts his first title victory
Yared Hagos is a man on a mission in his first season as UK-based ice hockey player.
Sheffield Steelers’ latest Swedish recruit has never won a league title in a career which stretches back to 1998.
The 33-year-old centreman, who played at all international levels and in Germany and America, has added composure, craft and experience to Paul Thompson’s side.
And so far he and his family are enjoying the experience of being in Sheffield.
After playing in front of 8,127 Sheffield Arena fans who watched the home side batter Nottingham Panthers 8-1 on Saturday, he has seen the team and the support at its best.
“The fans come here to see us work hard and play good hockey so on a night like this they got their money’s worth” he said.
Hagos said it has been a hectic introduction to the club, having missed the first 22 Steelers games in all competitions as he looked for a job in a roster across Europe.
“The organisation has been great, they are taking care of me, so it was a smooth transition here” he commented.
“They have a good team and it is a nice city to play for and with fans like this who can’t like it?
“Sheffield is a great hockey town and it is nice to play here.
“I have to see all the other teams but what I heard it is a good atmosphere for a hockey team in England.
Hagos said it was “very important” to be on a title winning team this season as Sheffield attempt to seal their third straight championship.
“It is nice to play in a team that has goals and aspirations and a certain amount of expectations on you.
“I came short a little bit in Sweden and Germany. Hopefully we get this done this time around. There is a long way to go!”
Hagos, who had an astonishing 529 games in the Swedish Hockey League - arrived at the club after playing for Krefeld Pinguine in Germany’s top division.
He scored on his debut in a 6-5 win at Edinburgh Capitals and got an assist in last weekend’s demolition of Nottingham.
His defensive skills will be particularly useful on Friday night when top of the Elite League side Cardiff Devils come to the House of Steel.
If Sheffield beat the Welsh, they will have cut the gap between first and second spot to three points, with four games in hand - which would be a useful achievement as the busy Christmas and New Year period approaches.