Sheffield Steelers coach may try and loan star players out during league uncertainty

Sheffield Steelers' coach Aaron Fox may try and loan out some of his star players during the ongoing quandary over the start of the next EIHL season.

Friday, 4th September 2020, 1:18 pm

On September 15, the EIHL will make a decision on pressing ahead for a potential December start.

Some clubs, fearing financial losses and a second coronavirus spike, might pull the plug on any involvement.

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Sheffield Steelers coach Aaron Fox

Others, including Steelers, will keep their powder dry in the hope of a mini-season starting in January or February.

Fox knows such uncertainty is hugely stressful for players.

In a Facebook conference call for fans, he said that there were 185 players that iced in the Elite League last year while there were just 50 players under contract right now for the 'upcoming' year.

He said established EIHL players like Joey Martin had left for clubs abroad and that: "We've had those same conversations with some of our guys.

"We have let them know we are not sure whether we are going to be ready to go in December. The Government hasn't given us any more guidance on that.

"If we can go later than that, we are one of the clubs that would like to do that."

But he said that "no season means no pay cheques for these guys" so if there were opportunities overseas, he woul not hold any of his skaters back.

"Some guys have reached out and asked if I can make some phone calls - are there any jobs available for them? In a perfect world I would love to loan some guys out for two or three months until we start and get them back.

"But I obviously can't withhold money from them. If there is a guaranteed deal out there for somebody then that is something we are going to have to live with.

"There are a couple of guys that have had some conversation with teams - nothing has been done yet."

Looking at the options for an EIHL season, he said: "If we started in December and go to May you might get to 26-28 weeks. If you go January to June you might get 24 weeks, if you go from February to the end of June, you might get 22 weeks.

"But those 22 weeks are a lot better than zero weeks."

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