Sheffield Steeler tips his hat to new Nottingham Panthers coach...for now
Steeler Cole Shudra has sportingly put club rivalries aside to welcome the appointment of former team-mate Tim Wallace as head coach of Nottingham Panthers.
The Sheffield skater played with and under Wallace at Milton Keynes Lightning next year.
In a season on non-stop adversity, the American played 60 times and gave everything he had to the failing organisation.
"As a player, that first half of the season, he was definitely a leader for us" said Shudra reflecting on how Wallace was asked to become player-coach after Doug McKay parted company with them.
"As a veteran guy, he had a lot of experience.
"He was really helpful towards me and a lot of the other, younger guys."
He said Wallace, 34, should be applauded for sticking it through a troubled season.
"He had to switch to a completely new role where you have to be a team-mate but at the same time you have to put your foot down and tell guys when they were messing up or doing something wrong.
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"I think he handled that really well. It is always a tough situation, especially when we were in last place and struggling for the play offs. But I think he did a really good job.
"Judging from my experience with him, he will be a good head coach, (at Nottingham) he is a very systematically-driven coach which is always a good thing for players to know what they are doing in situations. I think he will do a good job.
"Obviously we will be rivals this year but I am sure that we will put that aside if we ever see each other off the ice."
One of Shudra and Wallace's team-mates at MKL last season was ex Steeler Andreas Valdix, who was linked with a move back to the House of Steel, recently.
"Vally is one of those guys who is a very skilled player - he does things with the puck that no one else does. He was obviously one of our top guys last year; he led the way for us scoring-wise so if we can add someone like that to our roster, if he puts up the same numbers, he'd be a really good asset to have."
Meanwhile, Russian sources say Steelers are interested in signing winger Nikolai Lemtyugov, 33. The forward played under Aaron Fox at Zagreb last year.
A player of his stature (400 KHL games) will excite interest all over Europe and no deal has been done in Sheffield, The Star understands.
Steelers have made no comment on the issue.