‘Finner’ calms the fear

Sheffield Steelers Coach Ryan Finnerty
Sheffield Steelers Coach Ryan Finnerty
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RYAN Finnerty admits he has had to do some fast-talking with players signed up for Sheffield Steelers’ new season.

The Canadian is facing his debut as a player-coach and has already been thrown into the deep end by the liquidation of the club’s Wales-based former management company Rink Corp.

Finnerty has signed some of last year’s team, but has also brought in new faces, including a former AHL goaltender.

That player, an American father of two, will have wanted assurances about job security, as would other imports on their way across the Atlantic to the UK.

Steelers, who have previously signed north Americans Colt King and Chad Huttle, intend to make public the name of their 6 feet-plus new netminder this week.

‘Finner’ said: “I am not concerned about the situation with Rink Corp but I have had to calm a few nerves of the boys we are bringing in.

“All the guys are confident in Tony (Smith; new Sheffield majority shareholder) and respect everything he is doing for this club.

“Rinkcorp is in the past and I feel more confident now as we approach the season.”

Meanwhile, Steelers’ plans for their 20th birthday celebrations on August 27 have been bolstered by the confirmed return of one-time star forwards Jason Lafreniere and Mike Peron.

Lafreniere played just one season in Sheffield but his silky skills and strong puck-handling set the Super League alive; he notched 29 points in 22 games.

“Steelers keep remembering me and that’s nice,” said Lafreniere.

“I had an incredible year in Sheffield and am grateful that the club’s new owners invited me over.”

Peron, a stocky centreman who would play through serious injury, spent three years at Broughton Lane from 2003.

He said: “This whole Festival will be an incredible time for both the players and the fans.

“I’m excited to meet some of the guys coming to the event.

“When I was in Sheffield I used to hear about these guys Tim Cranston, Tommy Plommer, Wayne Cowley and alike. It will be good to hook up with them.

“The Steelers were a great club for me and I had a great time in the city.

“We enjoyed many good memories and I cannot wait to skate out on to the Arena ice again and hear that roar from the fans.

“You certainly miss things like that when you retire,” said Peron.

n Steeldogs: P40