Is this the most potent Sheffield Steelers side in a decade?

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David Simms has been “bigging up” Sheffield Steelers teams on the eve of season for two decades.

But the club publicist is hoping that the players will promote themselves this season - with goals, grit and flair.

Sheffield Steelers do their ice bucket challenge for Weston Park Cancer unit with fan and charity worker Beth Usher

Sheffield Steelers do their ice bucket challenge for Weston Park Cancer unit with fan and charity worker Beth Usher

They get the chance from Saturday onwards, when the hockey season starts with a friendly against Coventry Blaze.

Simms isn’t concerned about the number of new players - eight fresh imports - in fact he hopes history repeats itself.

“We kept only a handful of players in the 2002-3 side, from memory.

“But we went on to win with that team, so hopefully we can do the same with this squad” he says.

“This year we may be an older team ,but we are more dynamic, we will have more offensive punch. Looking at the stats of those coming in you have to say we should be expecting the most offensive, explosive Sheffield team in a decade.

“Last season we didn’t have a lot of secondary scoring, but we will now have four quality new import forwards Colton Fretter, Mathieu Roy, Tyler Mosienko and Mike Forney; and they will all score goals. And Rob Dowd, Pascal Morency won’t be far behind them.

“Roy was captain of an ECHL team that won the Kelly Cup (Florida Everglades) and led their team in scoring - we’ve never had that combination before.

“Pascal Morency has played at an incredibly good standard in the Austrian League (Olimpija Ljubljana)

“There is no doubt the fans will like him, he is an agitator, in your face, loud and flamboyant.

“Fretter top-scored in the teams he has played in Italy, Germany and Austria (HC Bolzano, Iserlohn Roosters and Klagenfurter AC) - that is an astonishing achievement and, again, new to us.

“Mosienko had a superb resume until he got into bother with his team (Esbjerg, Denmark) last year. He wouldn’t have come to us , if he hadn’t, we are a level or two below what he is used to playing in” said Simms.

“These people have been high profile successful players in what are without doubt some of the world’s top leagues. Jay Latulippe can draw on experience in Sweden, France and Holland as well as his time at Cardiff Devils and Dundee Stars.

“And take a look at our new 25-year-old defenceman, Cullen Eddy.

“He comes straight from the AHL, (Adirondack Phantoms) his standard of player normally goes to Europe first, so we’re delighted to have him playing in the Elite League.

“He will play with another new D-man Darrell Hay, who at 34 has seen it and done it all before. He’s played in Italy, the Czech Republic, Norway and Germany as well as the AHL and is another Kelly Cup champion.”

Coventry, who have 10 new imports, have been training since Monday on ice so will be better prepared than Steelers - who will have had just three hours on the pad before Saturday night’s iceSheffield match.

Steelers have had to postpone their Sept 6 opening home game at the Arena because of an “ice plant failure.”

The club says it has been a huge and unexpected blow.

But they are determined not to let it impact on the pre-season feel-good-factor.