SHEFFIELD STEELERS: Best of British for Steeler Rod Sarich

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CANADIAN-born Steeler Rod Sarich is “super-excited” to have been picked to play for Great Britain.

The Sheffield defenceman became a dual national earlier this year, which prompted a call-up from GB boss Tony Hand, who named him in his squad for the Olympic pre-qualifying tournament in Japan. GB will face Romania, Korea and Japan from November 9 to 11.

The group winners will go through to the final Olympic qualification in February.

Sarich, who joined Steelers in 2005 and recently married partner Becky, is “honoured and proud” to be representing his ‘new’ country. “It is a great opportunity,” he said.

“I started the immigration process about five years ago and it has been a long journey. I don’t think I will ever feel I’m not Canadian, but my whole life is over here - my wife, my work (he is a marketing manager) and hockey.

“Dual nationality helps me professionally, of course, but I do feel now as British as I am Canadian and have no intention of heading back to Canada, as things stand.”

Sarich believes the current Steelers team have a lot of potential - but must learn to play more gritty hockey, offensively.

“We have a pretty skilled team with a lot of depth although some of our goalscorers are still finding their stride,” he said.

“We haven’t been getting the ‘ugly’ goals, so we’ve been working hard to get pucks in and crash the net. If Tom Sestito goes back to the NHL he will leave a hole but we have other players who can do the job.”

* The EIHL have ruled that the match penalty awarded against Tom Sestito on Sunday in the game against the Hull Stingrays has been removed from the players record and that Sestito will not be suspended and is clear to play in Friday’s league game in Belfast.

Sestito was awarded a match penalty for a “Hit to the Head” on Stingray Andy Ward.

The EIHL automatically reviews all match penalties and the Steelers provided, as requested, video evidence of the incident that clearly showed that there was no contact to the head of Ward by Sestito.

Coach Ryan Finnerty said “We are delighted at the outcome of the review by the league and thank then for their time and deliberation in this matter. Once we had reviewed all of the evidence we were confident that the penalty would be squashed as there wasn’t contact as suggested.

“We can not prepare for the game against Belfast on Friday with Tom in our line up”