New injury blow for Sheffield Steelers
Steelers have been struck by yet another injury blow - in a season which has seen an astonishing number of broken bones and other issues inflicted on their players.
Teenage prospect Kieran Brown will miss most of the rest of the season after breaking his wrist.The 18-year-old West Yorkshireman was due to have surgery on Thursday.It's a blow for Steelers and Steeldogs, for whom he has played 18 games so far.But on the bright side for the EIHL club, GB regular Robert Dowd has skated for the first time since injuring his leg and is likely to be fit to face Fife Flyers on Saturday.The Sheffield roster has seen a number of changes due to injury and other circumstances this season.The latest is the loss of Mikko Kuukka, the Finnish defenceman, who has gone home after 16 games.Sheffield are replacing him quickly.Czech defenceman Josef Hrabal, 34, a one time Edmonton Oilers' NHL draftee, should be available for the Fife game.Hrabal comes with a distinguished pedigree in leagues including the KHL and was a team-mate of Marek Troncinsky, who has been an outstanding success since he arrived earlier this season.Kuukka was close to tears after leaving the Sheffield ice, after Wednesday's 5-2 win over Manchester Storm in the quarter final first leg of the Challenge Cup."I didn't think we'd end up being able to keep him for the whole year" said coach Aaron Fox."He is a really good stay-at-home defenceman...I knew there would be injuries and some teams that would end up needing a guy like that until the end of the year."He is going to a young team and he'll be put in a position to play a lot and help those guys along."The financial side was something that we could not compete with."What a great guy, what a great character. A team-first guy, I think it sends a great message to a bunch of the other guys in our room as well, to see that type of attitude" added Fox.
Kuukka was a solid no-frills operator in a unit which has seen long term injuries to Aaron Johnson, Jonas Liwing and James Bettauer.But Sheffield will retain close ties with him - don't rule out seeing him back at the House of Steel.“We leave on good terms and you never know if our paths will cross again" said the coach.