Jonathan Phillips and Anthony DeLuca desperate to get back in action for Sheffield Steelers after stint in Germany

Jonathan Phillips and Anthony DeLuca harbour no ill feelings to the German side who ended their contracts last week.

Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 10:17 am

The Sheffield Steelers' forwards were among several players who went in search of employment in Europe when the EIHL closed down.

The coronavirus rates continue to be a huge issue in the UK - and there is still no firm information on whether or not the Elite League will restart in January or February.

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But Phillips - like his namesake and team-mate Davey - has returned from European hockey grateful for the experience.

"Jonno and Anthony had a great experience with their team (EHF Passau Black Hawks, in the third German tier)," said club official David Simms.

"They are both glad they went and have nothing but good things to say about the country and their teammates.

"But the team was not doing well and the playing part just wasn't what they had hoped for.

Anthony DeLuca

"They are home now, with no hard feelings, and are desperate for news about the EIHL - both want to get back on the ice for Sheffield fans."

Steelers and the other English EIHL clubs will need four to six weeks to prepare for a new mini-season, should the pledged Government grant be ratified.

While background work at Sheffield, Guildford Flames, Nottingham Panthers, Manchester Storm and Coventry Blaze are underway - the separate managements are reviewing matters like housing, flights and rink facilities - nothing can be set in stone until it is 100 percent sure the grant will arrive.

Further talks between the sport's rulers and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are expected on Thursday.

But time is running out - if nothing is confirmed in the next 10 days, the whole proposal may be consigned to the bin.

Meanwhile Steelers Marco Vallerand and Robert Dowd are itching to get back on the ice for their current club Eppan, of Italy.

Renewed covid issues meant their league had to suspend operations.

"We’ve been stopped for over five weeks so now we are basically professional 'work-outers’ and professional cappuccino drinkers!," said Vallerand.

"In the last 5-6 weeks we’ve been working out twice a day and just hung out waiting for the league to start again.It was stopped because we had on our team eight or nine people tested covid positive so we had to stop practising as well.

"We’ve been back on the ice for two weeks now and we can’t wait to be back."

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