Ice Hockey: Steelers have the best ‘Brit-Pack’, says Blaze coach

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ELITE League coach Paul Thompson admits Sheffield Steelers will probably lead the league next season when it comes to homegrown talent.

Yesterday, the club announced they had snapped up ex Nottingham Panthers skipper Danny Meyers.

It was enough to put another grey hair on Thompson’s head as he seeks to make his team, Coventry Blaze, title competitors after they finished fifth last year.

Thompson had already been struck by the significance of Sheffield landing points-machine Colin Shields.

“Shields is a signing we all would have loved to have made.

“He is guaranteed goals, a super talent who when on his game is dominant. He is a player who will add a lot of offence and also great on the power-play.”

The acquisiton of North American-trained Brit Danny Wood also impressed him.

“Wood is like a free Brit, there are so few home grown players for us all to chase, then a new one appears like Wood under the radar. Ryan Finnerty (Steelers coach) has done well to sign him before we all got wind he was available.

“That lad could be a hidden gem. He will have been well coached in his years in the States.”

Thompson has lost some Brits this summer, including Jonathan Weaver.

And he admits: “You add Ashley Tait, Jonathan Phillips, Jason Hewitt, Mark Thomas and Geoff Woolhouse and the Steelers have the best Brit-Pack by far.

“They are a close group, they have been through wars together before and have delivered and won before.

“It’s a core group of men who will lead and make those others that Finner brings in accountable.”