James Bettauer's versatility set to be tested as Sheffield Steelers head into league home straight

James Bettauer's versatility will be put to the test as his Sheffield Steelers' team head into the home straight, chasing the Elite League title.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 4:41 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 1:12 pm
James Bettauer: a strong presence on the wing despite "gasping for air"

The Canadian signed for the club as a defenceman in the summer, on a two year contract, twinned with an MBA course at the University of Sheffield.

At the time, the skater said: "I’m mobile and can play at either end of the rink, given the opportunity I can produce points, I have a big shot."

Bettauer had the chance to put his words into action before the Arena crowd last Sunday, and he scored an empty net goal to seal a 4-1 victory over EIHL challengers Belfast Giants.

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Asked how he'd coped with the move up front, so soon after returning from an eight-week broken hand injury absence, he replied: "It takes a few games to get the lungs back! I was gasping for air a few times.

"It was an adjustment, I got one practice in as a forward before going into it. I have played there before so its not much different."

Bettauer was relieved to have scored in his last game - his fifth success of the season - as it came at the end of a long and tiring shift.

The former Krefeld Pinguine DEL player dodged a question over whether he felt there was a championship awaiting top of the table Steelers.

But he said: "It would be nice, we are going to give our best effort...we won't know until about a month and a half from now. Let's hope for the best.

"We do have a lot of depth so we can afford to have other guys step up when key guys get injured...we still managed to come up strong.

"I think depth really helps us and we are able to step up in big games."

Bettauer admitted it had been a "little tricky" coping with studies as well as playing and training as a professional athlete.

It had been ten years since his formal education so it had been a tough adjustment.

"But it's been good...it is a two year MBA - hopefully the worst is over.”

*Cardiff Devils and Nottingham Panthers shared ten goals in the first leg of the Challenge Cup semi final at the Viola Arena, on Wednesday.

The winners of their second leg will play Steelers or Glasgow Clan...Sheffield chalked up a 5-1 lead in the first leg and aim to compete the tie on January 29.