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Ice hockey: Newcomers to Sheffield Steeldogs are paying dividends

Nathan Salem by Peter Best
Nathan Salem by Peter Best
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Sheffield Steeldogs are a few weeks into the 2018/19 campaign and the two new signings coach Ben Morgan brought in over the summer have made significant contributions to a strong start.

The Dogs have a squad heavily based on locally trained players but in signing Duncan Speirs from Solway and Nathan Salem from Peterborough, they have expanded from that model.

Duncan Speirs. By Peter Best

Duncan Speirs. By Peter Best

Both the young Scot and the experienced product of the Newcastle Vipers have been central to the Steeldogs early season success.

Morgan hasn’t been surprised by their contributions; “They’ve played as I expected them to and when James Spurr got injured, Duncan had a chance to play on the top line and he played really well.

"We’ve also tried him on the second line and he’s shown his versatility and that he can play on any of the four lines.

"He gives you a little bit of everything - he has a good touch around the net, he skates really well and plays the body.

"He’s got an older head on his 21-year-old body and you can tell he’s played at a higher level as he understands the finer details of the game. I’ve been delighted with him and how he’s started" said Morgan.

“Nathan has fitted straight in like I knew he would. He knows quite a lot of the guys and I knew from talking to him over the summer he’d fit the mold and the ethos of the team. His performances have been spectacular - particularly that vital hat-trick at the weekend to beat Basingstoke.

“They have both fitted in well in the locker room, Nathan was straight in but it took Duncan a little longer as he didn’t know any of the guys but he’s really come out of his shell in the past couple of weeks and he’s integrated fantastically well. He’s really bought into everything we do, the fitness testing, the off-ice sessions and I think been I impressed by our approach.

“They provide healthy competition for places which keeps everybody fresh, honest and focused on what we are trying to achieve, be that in a single period or our goals for the season and winning trophies. They have been a breath of fresh air for the whole squad which has helped us make a good start to the season.”

Next up for the Steeldogs is a visit from the Swindon Wildcats for an Autumn Cup game at 7:30 on Saturday.