Sheffield Steelers legend Ron Shudra expects a firey ‘local derby’ at the Arena tomorrow - especially with ‘Mr Grumpy’ in charge of the home bench.
Shudra played in some explosive matches against Nottingham Panthers over the years and says the intensity is just as tempestuous now as it was in his playing day.
“It’s wrong to say Steelers v Panthers games don’t mean as much today as they did 15 or 20 years ago – they do” he says. “Back then it was all new. They were the old established club and we were the young upstarts with our flash Arena, dancing girls and nicknames.
“We rubbed salt into Nottingham’s wounds by winning league titles, Benson and Hedges cups, play offs and of course the 96 and 2001 Grand Slam – many times beating the Panthers in the finals – they hated us.
“You ask the likes of Phillips, Hewitt and Thomas, guys who have been around, if these games mean less than they did years ago and they will laugh at you. They know how important the games are to the fans.
“When we played, the week build up was always at a higher tempo, we trained with an edge in those weeks. I’m guessing it’s the same now. I know Gerad Adams, he was grumpy on good days when we both played! He hasn’t lost that edge, he won’t allow anything but 100% against Panthers.
“I played in a lot of Panthers games and loved the intensity and the passion. There isn’t a chance that an Adams-coached side won’t play with the same hunger and passion.”