SHEFFIELD STEELERS: Bruiser Drew Fata is Ryan Finnerty’s last pick

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A DEFENCEMAN who gave Sheffield Steelers a torrid time in a match last year has been snapped up by the club.

Drew Fata, 29, was in the Italian team Asiago which beat Ryan Finnerty’s men on penalty shots in the Continental Cup.

Such was the impression the Canadian made - he has now been awarded a two year contract.

Finnerty said: “I thought playing against him last year in Denmark was very difficult, he was all over you, gave you no time and was so strong.

“I think he was the best D man in the competition. That’s why we moved so quickly when he became available. He ticks all the boxes for us, big, strong, very tough, very experienced and just a good all around D man. He compliments the other players we have on the blue line and I really think he is a perfect fit for us.

“He is just what we need for our final spot on the team.”

Fata’s impending arrival means Finnerty will have three pairs of defenceman to barricade John DeCaro’s goal. The latest signing, who played eight games in the NHL with New York Islanders in 2007 is another fresh face with an impressive CV.

Fata had a short spell in Norway with Sparta Sarpsborg before joining Asiago, prior to that he iced 321 AHL games, chiefly with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

His decision to make a debut season in UK hockey was doubtless influenced by the offer of a University of Sheffield masters programme.

Finnerty said: “We had lots of options but Fata stood out from the rest, we have again signed real quality. I could have gone for a knuckle dragging D man who perhaps fought a little more but what’s the point? Our whole team has toughness, there isn’t one player that will play scared.”

FACTSPOT: Fata was called up by New York when Islanders defenceman Sean Hill was banned for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.