Marco Vallerand, Martin Latal and Robert Dowd crowned at Sheffield Steelers’ awards night

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Marco Vallerand has been handed a gigantic confidence boost ahead of Sheffield Steelers' play off quarter finals.

The forward was celebrated by his peers as Players' Player of the Year at the annual Supporters' Club event at the Royal Victoria Hotel.

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Vallerand has missed a dozen games through injury this season and went through something of a goal drought when he returned to the ice in mid March.

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Marco Vallerand, players' player of the year, right.Marco Vallerand, players' player of the year, right.
Marco Vallerand, players' player of the year, right.

Yet he is the team's top points' scorer his team-mates have recognised his attempts to fight back to the kind of fitness and form which frequently makes him the team's most valuable asset.

And to be acknowledged by the locker room as the club's most significant contributor will motivate Vallerand further, as the team prepares for back-to-back games against Dundee Stars.

Other awards on the night included, Martin Latal won the Supporters Club player of the year.

And Robert Dowd was crowned the coaches' player, best British player and feted for the 'Champagne moment' for his record-breaking goal which put him ahead of Jeff Legue in the all-time Steeler standings.

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Aaron Fox parents Robert Dowd with his trophy.Aaron Fox parents Robert Dowd with his trophy.
Aaron Fox parents Robert Dowd with his trophy.

Coach Aaron Fox said Dowd deserved the coaches' award, but also mentioned Rol Stojanovic, Vallerand and Kevin Schulze as contenders.

Great Britain Head Coach Pete Russell has included five Sheffield players in his 25-strong squad for the 2022 IIHF World Championship in Finland.

They are Jonathan Phillips, Davey Phillips, Sam Jones, Evan Mosey and Robert Dowd.

Centreman Brandon Whistle is on the reserve list.

Martin Latal, prizewinner.Martin Latal, prizewinner.
Martin Latal, prizewinner.

The 16-team tournament takes place in Tampere and Helsinki from 13th to 29th May.

GB are based in Tampere and will face Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and the USA in Group B.

Matches will take place at the newly-built 13,500-seater Nokia Arena.