Cheats must not prosper in Elite league

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Sheffield Steelers’ coach Ryan Finnerty hopes any salary cap cheats will be caught and exposed in next year’s Elite League.

Paul Ragan, owner of both Sheffield and Cardiff Devils, insists his two clubs will honour the salary ceiling fixed by the governing body - something Steelers didn’t do last year.

Some coaches, notably Coventry Blaze/GB coach Paul Thompson, suspects that the odd club will try and steal a march on the others by massaging their figures.

But Finnerty hopes the cap will be observed in 2011-12 and that the further slash of expenditure forced by each teams icing one less import will be beneficial to the sport as a hole. Some players like Neil Clark and Rob Globke feels the loss of an import will have a negative effect on entertainment levels.

But Finnerty said: “The new imports level is where it needs to be. If you compare us with Europe we’re quite high in the amount of imports we were allowed. For the stability of the league, the wage cap is what we need to move forward. It also gives British guys chance to play, not just sitting on the bench. They will get some actual ice time and kids only playing 2-3 minutes a game are now getting 10-12. It’s going to improve the British sport and the GB programme. And I don’t think the fans will see a difference in the level. You are still going to have nine quality imports.”

As for the policing of salary levels, the Canadian told The Star: “Honesty, I hope teams do adhere to it - nobody will be able to hide the fact they aren’t.

“We as a club are going to play to the top end of the wage cap and put the best product on the ice we can. We are going to play within the rules and if other teams don’t, you’d hope they would be penalised.”