SHEFFIELD STEELERS: Ash is glad bruiser is on his side now!

Now teammates: Chris Frank, main picture, and Ashley Tait, inset
Now teammates: Chris Frank, main picture, and Ashley Tait, inset
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ashley Tait is happier than most at the fact that his Sheffield Steelers’ club has signed bruising defenceman Chris Frank.

That’s because he was sick and tired last season at having Frank’s stick wrapped around his body!

Frank took an instant dislike to Tait, recalls Sheffield defenceman Mark Thomas, who is among the blueliners who will be welcoming the latest signing into the fold this weekend, for

“We had a good laugh about this in training” said the GB man. “Chris is a d-man who likes to take the body and for some reason didn’t take to Ash at all. He gave his some proper grief. It wasn’t because Ash was saying anything - it must have been because he is one of our better players and Chris didn’t like that. He tried to take him out a few times, whacking the back of his legs, cross-checking him...the lot!

“He just wanted to neutralise Ash, so I bet he’s pretty pleased he won’t have to put up with that again.”

Thomas said Frank was a “solid, gritty” defenceman who would help out a defence depleted by the injuries to Danny Meyers and James Jorgensen.

“We had six to start with, but that didn’t last very long, so I’m glad we have the new guy in,” he said. “This is a very competitive league this season; the new Conference system has brought a lot of parity and excitement to the fans, so the more hands we have to help us the better.

“People think we’ve been a bit inconsistent lately, but the truth is that all teams in the League will lose more than previously. In the past, title winners would lose four or five games, that’s all.

“But big clubs like ourselves Nottingham, Belfast and Coventry play each other a lot more so it is inevitable some results will go against you. We could lose 10 or 12 times and still win the title.

“I think the League will be decided by who can go on a run and achieve the most consistency from this moment on.

“I hope it is us and we train every day to improve our systems to give us the best possible chance of achieving that.”

Steelers play bottom of the league Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday, but Thomas isn’t taking anything for granted.

“They have a good goalie (Tomas Hiadlovsky) and their top scorer (Rene Jarolin) is somebody you cannot afford to take your eye off.”