Ice Hockey: No Nottingham Panthers clash for Sheffield Steelers on Boxing Day... but they'll face another big rival instead
Sheffield Steelers won't be locking horns with their traditional Boxng Day rivals, this year - but they will have a War of the Roses to contend with instead.
This coming season's fixture list is being released this week. And to whet the appetite the Elite League has published an insight into what is the biggest crowd-pulling day of the season.
Steelers will host Manchester Storm on Boxing Day, at 4pm, and then make the return journey across the Pennines on the following Saturday, 7pm.
Steelers v Panthers would probably have been the choice of those two clubs, but it was impossible to accommodate, as both teams we both had Arena availability on the 26th but neither had it on the 27th.
However, the rivalry with Storm is a strong one and the tie should make for an interesting substitute.
Storm coach Ryan Finnerty is assembling his 2019-20 team through the Summer and will be hoping to do better than the ninth place his club finished in last term - two below Steelers.
Last season, the two teams did well against each other on their home ice - but both struggled on the road.
Robert Dowd, one of Steelers' big-match players, commented: "The Christmas games are always the biggest of the year, whether that be Nottingham or Manchester
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“I think the is a little more edge to the Manchester series, I think Finner understands the rivalry and the Manchester fans travel incredibly well so I expect 9,300 on Boxing Day – it’s the biggest day of the year for hockey.
“I guess when we play the Storm, we aren’t Sheffield for that night, we are Yorkshire. I love hearing our fans chant 'Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire' whether are at home or away.
“It will be another great occasion, but it will be a good Christmas if we win the series.”
Nottingham will host Coventry Blaze on Boxing Day.
Meanwhile, former Sheffield defenceman Scott Aarssen has signed on for a second year with Fife Flyers.
The dependable 31-year-old Canadian defenceman spent four years with Braehead Clan and a single season with at the House of Steel.