While moves to replace him go on in the background, Tom Barrasso carries on with the job of coaching Sheffield Steelers

Tom Barrasso says he is enjoying the challenge of managing Sheffield Steelers playoff push - as the club's ownership interviews his potential replacement.

By Bob Westerdale
Thursday, 14th March 2019, 7:13 am
Updated Thursday, 14th March 2019, 7:18 am
Heading to the exit at the end of the year: Tom Barrasso
Heading to the exit at the end of the year: Tom Barrasso

The American is consumed with plotting the club's immediate course and has no thoughts on the bigger re-build needed in the Summer - as a different man will be in charge then.

Barrasso has never said he wanted to leave, merely that he wanted to examine his career options at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

But that doesn't match owner Tony Smith's needs to start an overhaul - and start it quickly.

"Tony and I have had very candid discussions about the path forward for the hockey club" Barrasso told The Star.

"The timeline Tony needs to plan for next season may not match the timeline for me to make a commitment to the club.

"We both understand and respect each other’s position.

"My focus at the moment is finishing the season playing hockey in April. Each day we try to improve as a team. It is a challenge I enjoy.

"The process of building next year's group is not something I think about at this time."

It is very much on Smith’s agenda.

He has witnessed some horrible reverses this season – some at the Arena where background staff have been working hard to continue to build the fan base.

Fans have remained impressively patient. 

And Smith will want to reward them with a more exciting and explosive team next year – one associated with the Steelershockey brand that has made the club something of a winning institution in the city, since 1991.

Steelers host top of the table Cardiff Devils on Saturday and will be underdogs in their own building. Next season, Smith and his new north American coach will want to see teams coming to the Arena knowing they have a much more difficult task in store.