He's one of our own - Cole Shudra will move on from his Milton Keynes Lightning experience at Sheffield Steelers, next season
Cole Shudra will get his chance to prove himself with Sheffield Steelers, next season.
The home-grown Sheffield skater, 20, was loaned out for the 2018-19 season to Milton Keynes Lightning - an ailing outfit which relied on him for big minutes on the ice.
But new Steelers’ coach Aaron Fox has no plans to see Shudra continue his development anywhere else other than South Yorkshire.
"I have great plans for Cole, here" said Fox.
"He has come in and really put the work in over the summer, already, he has been in with Danny (Mawer; conditioning coach) every day working his tail off to prove he belongs here in the orange and I am excited to have him.
"If they (Steelers) had done it all over again last year I think they would probably have loved to have had Cole here come December when the team was thin and he played some big minutes for Milton Keynes as a forward and as a D - so that versatility is also something that will be really unique for us to have."
Fox said he'd met the Rotherham-born 6ft 2ins player on a couple of occasions, adding: "I am excited for him to be in a position to compete with a couple of young guys for that key ice time. It should be a good year for Cole.
"What I told him direct was he'll probably start as a forward and he will be competing with (Brandon) Whistle and Brownie (Kieran Brown) for those minutes early on.
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"I like that variable to play D, if we want to have a seventh defenceman that's an import he'd probably be predominantly a forward" he said but added he could always be a "swing guy."
Fox said: "I like the flexibility he has and I have no interest in loaning him out at this stage, that's for sure."
The Milton Keynes experienced will have helped his maturity and character" said the Sheffield coach.
"He was playing 15-18 minutes a game there, I saw him on the power play when I watched some of his games...he understands that's not going to be the situation here immediately.
"He is going to have to come in and earn that ice time, which is very normal.
"But I told him very clearly if you come in and play well and do things the right way and there's an injury you could be that guy that pops up into a better role.
"I am excited to get him into camp and see how he looks."
Shudra, son of Steelers’ legend Ron, has tweeted that he “loved every minute of it through thick and thin” at MKL.