David Simms' Sheffield Steelers ice hockey column: Aaron Fox thinks we've found a gem with Pavel Kantor
So the Sheffield Steelers roster is now full, after the announcement that both Pavel Kantor and Tomas Duba would be joining the club.
There will also be a British back up but the Steelers and Steel Dogs are in talks about several different options on this position, it may even be a rotating slot.The position of goaltending was always going to be an important one and I don’t think Aaron has done as much homework and research on any players like he has on these two.Kantor has been signed for many weeks whilst the Duba deal was only completed a few days ago.
Both goalies are Czech and at different stages of their careers.
For Pavel it will be his first time playing outside his home country whilst Duba has more air miles than Judith Chalmers after spells in Asia, Germany, Austria, Italy and alike. Funny thing is that when you speak with Aaron he has a bigger smile about Kanter than pretty much any signing we have made, the Steelers boss is a huge fan of the Czech top league, the biggest provider of players to the KHL. I know he thinks we have found a gem with Pavel.Both goalies will arrive in time for training camp which starts on Monday, I assume both will get starts next weekend when the Steelers commence their exhibition games with the two ICE Sheffield fixtures against HK Poprad (all tickets just £10)So, that’s it, the new Aaron Fox Steelers.
What a transition this summer. Of the imports just Aaron Johnson, Big John Armstrong and and Tanner Eberle return. 12 new import faces join us. Most importantly the core of British players remain led by captain Jonathan Phillips.
The club retains the services of Ben O’Connor and Davey Phillips on the back end, up front joining Phillips is the best British forward in the league Robert Dowd and the two young pups, Cole Shudra and Kieran Brown.We are excited within the club and you seem excited watching from the outside. We’ve all tried not to get too excited but with the season just over a week ago you can’t help but get the goosebumps.
Whist the Steelers have improved dramatically our rivals haven’t exactly been sat on their heels. Both Cardiff and Belfast have made big, experienced and dramatic signings. Their squads have improved as well. Guildford have added depth and quality, Glasgow have signed some big hitters, Coventry believe that their Achilles heel, goaltending, has been resolved and then there is Nottingham … not much to be said there.
The point is we aren’t getting a free hit folks, this is going to be the Elite League of all Elite Leagues, the quality is off the charts, the depth is obscene and the excitement and entertainment will take the game to a new high. Will we win? Well we can, we have a fighting chance, Tony has given Aaron a budget to compete and it looks like Arron has spent well and wisely on players who have all our juices flowing. Of course it will take time to bed everyone in but with three weeks of training ice, three exhibition games plus a weekend of Cup action before the league starts I feel that we have enough time to feel each other out.The Saturday (17th) game against HK Poprad is almost sold out, tickets are more readily available for the Sunday fixture, remember tickets are only £10 each.
The following Saturday (24th) see’s the Steelers take on MAC Budapest at the Arena, all tickets £5 for that game.