Dave Simms' Sheffield Steelers column: Defining weekend lies ahead for Aaron Fox's side

Aaron Fox 
Sheffield Steelers head coach August 2019  
Picture: Dean WoolleyAaron Fox 
Sheffield Steelers head coach August 2019  
Picture: Dean Woolley
Aaron Fox Sheffield Steelers head coach August 2019 Picture: Dean Woolley
Belfast at the Arena on a Wednesday night, Cardiff at home on Saturday and then away in Nottingham on Sunday – now that’s what I call a great hockey weekend.

It’s also a defining weekend as the four biggest teams in the league clash.

How far have we come? Are we contenders? Do we have enough?

If the answer is yes, then Aaron Fox is ahead of schedule. His appointment was for three years, a period of time the club felt was sufficient to firstly compete and then to win again.

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Mikko KuukkaMikko Kuukka
Mikko Kuukka

There are times we look over-ready, we look electric and rightfully top of the league.

Then there are others when we have lapses, take our foot off the gas, lose concentration and look a little average.

I think that’s to be expected in this huge rebuilding process.

Marco Vallerand will hopefully be in the line-up on Saturday against the Devils. If he is then there is a chance that the Steelers will be at full strength (or 14 imports) for the first time in months.

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With all these games coming thick and fast having the bodies is hugely important.

The news that Aaron Johnson would be missing for another couple of months is heart-breaking for our former NHL’er.

Johnson played just two games after returning from a 19-game lay-off with the exact same injury. The chances of getting a slash on the same finger of the same hand on the exact break – If AJ didn’t have bad luck, he would have had no luck at all.

Aaron Fox has persuaded Mikko Kuukka to stick around a little longer and he has agreed a two-week extension to his deal. I’m like many of you and hope Aaron can get him to stay for the whole season.

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I like what he brings to us, it’s something we don’t have on the blue line.

A defence-first D man, a good first pass and a guy who doesn’t want to hog the puck. Get it and move it.

Please stay Mikko.

If Mikko does take an offer elsewhere what are Fox’s options. I guess that depends on what is out there. The Eric Meland signing may assist the Steelers coach. Meland can go back on the blue line and Fox may decide to grab a forward. If a D man is available he could make that move. I’m sure Aaron is several moves ahead of us in the planning for the rest of the season.

How proud of your hockey team were you last week after their efforts in Fishlake assisting the emergency services and the people of the flood-damaged village?

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It hit all the boys, they didn’t know what to expect and I think they were surprised at the damage to the houses and the village.

Many from Fishlake came to the game on Saturday. They are welcome as our guests at any time.

God only knows what those folks have been through and what is ahead of them over the next 12 months.

I love that our club can do things like this and have an impact.

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After the game I met some of the folk from the village and all they did was thank us. Crazy isn’t it?

We did nothing, they lost everything. The whole city, whole county should be united in helping them.

They only have to ask us and we will be there to support them in a heartbeat.

See you on Saturday for the Cardiff clash (7pm).