Sheffield Steelers: Canadians dominate class of 2021-22

For 30 years, Steelers' fans have demonstrated an almost unconditional backing for Canadian hockey players wearing the Sheffield shirt.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 11:11 am

And when the EIHL team takes to the ice next month the Orange Army will have 10 to illustrate their support for - including five new 'Canucks.'

The final signature of Daine Todd, announced on Wednesday morning, brought the number of Canadians to double figures.

The new boys are goaltender Barry Brust, followed by defencemen Keaton Ellerby and Todd, and forwards Justin Hodgman and Travis Oleksuk.

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They join established Steeler-Canadians John Armstrong, Brendan Connolly, Anthony DeLuca, Tanner Eberle and Marco Vallerand, all forwards.

In previous competitions, Sheffield fans have adored those five - so it will be interesting to watch the love spread further as fans return to Sheffield Arena for the first home match since February 29, 2020 when Steelers took on Fife Flyers.

Covid may have stopped play at the east end rink, but it hasn't stopped the vibe in the city and beyond.

The next national group on the roster, in numbers terms and excluding the two-way players icing at Leeds and Slough, are the Brits.

Coach Aaron Fox addresses his team.

Captain Jonathan Phillips leads goaltender Ben Churchfield, Sam Jones, Davey Phillips and Robert Dowd.

American skaters feature in the form of Evan Mosey and Kevin Schulze.

Then there is a player each from Norway and the Czech Republic, Adrian Saxrud Danielsen and Martin Latal, respectively.

Defensively, there are three right-handers, three left.

On the forward lines, there are six left-handers, four right.

On average, and including the two-way players, Steelers have an average age of 30.09 years and an average height of just over six feet.

The average weight is 13 stones and nine pounds.

So that's the roll call for the class of 2021-22, a side that omits Mikko Kuukka, the 21-game Steeler that the club appeared to be interested in, over the summer.

Steelers fans look like they will have to provide Covid Certification for home games in the short term.

The club's website quoted Sheffield City Trust Live Head of Live Events & Venues official Dom Stokes as saying: "The current plan is that you (fans) will need to provide certification of vaccination or confirmation of a negative covid test to attend.

"This will be checked by security on entry and concourse will be open earlier to accommodate this."

The Arena will "monitor government guidance for any future changes."

Stokes says a "new dasher board system which is used in the NHL has been purchased from Canada and is currently being installed" at the Arena.

He also told a fans' forum how the Arena was home throughout the pandemic to the NHS who delivered some 400,000 Covid vaccinations.