Ice hockey: Neil backs new Steelers coach to sign stars

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Scott Neil won’t be surprised if new Sheffield Steelers coach Doug Christiansen pulls off the import-signing of the summer.

Christiansen tends to keep his cards close to his chest during the close season, frequently making signings later rather than sooner.

But Neil - owner of the Edinburgh Captials club once coached by Christiansen - says he has a track record of delivering the goods.

“I would argue he recruited the best player to come over here as an import for a long time, in centreman Mark Hurtubise (signed from Mississippi Sea Wolves in the ECHL in 2008),” said Neil.

“He was a league top scorer and went on to sign for a Swedish Elite team, (Almtuna and Leksands), straight from Edinburgh - that is unheard of.

“So it is more than possible he can recruit an outstanding player and a great team.

“When he was with us, we discussed any potential new player thoroughly - and Mark turned out to be terrific.” Neil said Christansen would enjoy starting out with a “blank sheet” in terms of team-building. “He will be looking for quality players.

“The players that will come will determine the style of the team - his sides don’t have a readily identifiable hallmark.

“He likes high energy players like Darryl Lloyd and Adam Keefe and maybe he will want to find someone like that.”