EIHL's biggest star available - but not to Sheffield Steelers

Joey Martin, arguably the best player to have graced the EIHL over the last six years, is available for next month's mini-series...but fans won't be seeing him in a Sheffield Steelers' jersey.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 10:46 am

The 32-year-old Canadian captain of Cardiff Devils is leaving his 'loan' club Stavanger Oilers as the pandemic has forced another shutdown in Norway.

All the EIHL teams were put on notice about his availability on Wednesday after administrators finally gave up hope of resuming play this term.

When The Star asked Steelers' coach Aaron Fox about the potential of recruiting Martin - Devils are not taking part in next month's tournament - he replied: "Joey is obviously an excellent player who could probably help us win and his agent has reached out.

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"His name was one on a list but my position is that I don't see any chance of him being a Steeler, long-term.

"Although he may help me for five week series I am assuming he will be a Cardiff player again next year and I just don't have interest in bringing in guys if they can't help us down the line.

"Every guy that I am bringing in is someone that I want to be able to showcase us as an organisation, and Sheffield as a city, too.

"Winning the series is important, no doubt. But September is where my main focus has to be.

"Would Joey Martin sell a couple of (web) streams? Yes, potentially, but again my mindset cannot be on that type of thing. I have to consider what is best for this club for the long term," said the coach.

"He's a great player for Cardiff but we are looking for a long term commitment and association with Sheffield.

"My logic is that if there was only a 0.1 per cent chance of Joey signing for Sheffield next year - why would I bring him in?

"He is a Cardiff player and I would be shocked if any other team in this league could get him to play for them next year. So why not look at other guys who might potentially wear orange in the future?

Joey Martin: not an option for Sheffield's long term.

"The guys I am bringing in right now will probably have other opportunities in other leagues in September but that does not mean that at some point we won't see them in Sheffield again.

"It would be great if they came in here, loved it and wanted to stay. But the worst case scenario is that these guys have relationships with other players and tell them great things about how we treated them."

Fox stressed that the imports he was bringing in were quality performers who will give Steelers a good chance of winning the series - but he insisted winning the league next year was much more important.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Steeldogs can take another huge step towards winning the Spring Cup on Saturday.

Joey Martin shoots the puck

Greg Wood's team travel to Swindon to take on the Bees - a team that might be more than slightly concerned about how to contain the firepower heading their way.

Bees have scored 20 goals as a club in eight NIHL cup games - that is less than Liam Kirk and Jason Hewitt have scored between them for Dogs.

Kirk hasn't scored in his last two outings so he will be driven in the mission to find the back of the net.

The home side, which has Steelers' draft pick Josh Waller in their line-up, has scored less and conceded more than any of the other four teams involved.

Sunday sees Dogs host Raiders, who are joint bottom with Bees, both of whom have won just once in eight opportunities.