Sad Duba says goodbye to Sheffield Steelers: but 'no hard feelings'
Tomáš Duba has said a poignant farewell to Steelers and the city of Sheffield after the club opted to bring in a younger netminder.
The 39 year old iced just a single season at the Arena but his consistency was a huge influence on the team winning the Challenge Cup and competing at the top end of the league.
Duba had wanted to return. But coach Aaron Fox had to go with his instincts - he is bringing in 32-year-old American John Muse, who has been the more active of the two goaltenders during the pandemic lockdown.
"I was hoping to still play for the Steelers and I have been getting ready for it (the April EIHL tournament) so of course I was disappointed that it didn't happen," said the Czech backstopper who faced
1,464 shots for the South Yorkshire club.
"But I understand Foxy's decision to go for some younger blood.
"After all, I'm not the youngest kid on the playground any more," said Duba, who turns 40 in July.
"For me this means that I will go fully into coaching and I am excited for this new chapter in my life to start, so I have absolutely no hard feelings.
"Me and my family enjoyed our time in Sheffield a lot and I couldn't wish for a better ending to my career than lifting up that beautiful Challenge Cup trophy in front of the fantastic orange crowd!
"They were great fans, great teammates and I wish them all the best for the future," said the goaltender who played 48 league games and ten Cup matches.
Fox has admitted not taking Duba back into the fold was one of the hardest decisions of his coaching career.
Instead he plumped for a match-fit Muse, adding: "It is never an easy call to make, but you have to make it."
Muse's credentials have been endorsed by former Steelers icon Mathieu Roy.
The two played together and won a championship at Florida Everblades in the ECHL in 2012-13, the year before the French, Canadian winger came over to Sheffield to start his own illustrious spell in the city.
“When he was on his game, I have never been more confident to win a match," said Roy.
"He has ice cold veins on him. He is the type of goalie that gives a team a chance to win every single game."
Former Steeler Kieran Brown, drafted by Nottingham Panthers recently, has decided not to join the club, declaring his change of heart via text, according to the club.
The coaching staff say they are "bitterly annoyed and disheartened by his decision."
Brown had initially said he had been "super excited" to play for Panthers in the five week series but then said he could not commit to joining the "bubble" for the event.