Sheffield Steelers could be planning on a future without Tanner Eberle

Will Tanner Eberle follow John Armstrong as a long-term servant leaving the Sheffield Steelers' roster?

Monday, 9th May 2022, 2:52 pm

Armstrong - a dependable servant for Sheffield Steelers since 2016 - has announced his retirement from the sport as he starts a new career in business.

He bid goodbye to team-mates in the locker room shortly after Sheffield lost to Dundee Stars in the play off quarter finals.

He leaves Steelers on great terms and with a hockey bag loaded with memories - the 34 year old centreman Canadian is in the top 20 of Steelers when it comes to numbers of appearances.

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Eberle's situation is distinctly different, however.

The club would very much like the 28-year-old back, but his personal circumstances would seem to render that unlikely.

The forward is getting married in the summer and with his wife staying at home in North America, he seems likely to be seeking work there.

Sheffield will wait for a final decision on the Canadian's availability until later in the Summer, but you get the impression that they will have to plan for the future without him.

Tanner Eberle is getting married in the summer and his wide remains in North America

Like Armstrong, Eberle's final EIHL season - if it is that - was a disappointment with no silverware on the table.

Eberle had also suffered months of groin issues.

It is thought it was the first time he had been blighted by the problem and never really managed to shake it off.

He'd rest it, try to come back, but then reaggravate it.

John Armstrong left Sheffield Steelers at the end of the season as one of the top 20 appearance makers

A full Summer of rest and rehabilitation would probably alleviate it though.

Armstrong, meanwhile, had wrestled with the idea of retirement before, and now feels it is time to move on to civvie street.

He says he will miss Sheffield and the club, particularly the British corp.

The centreman says he'd found it harder to shrug off injuries and despite his affection for the fans, he had never been one for the spotlight.

Chastening experience for Steeler Jonathan Phillips GB v Denmark

The 34-year-old is a player coaches have relied on in key stages of games and a man who put the team before his own needs.

Armstrong bowed out in typically modest fashion - leaving it to his wife to announce the news.

"Anyone who knows John will tell you he's not one for big celebrations or accolades but on this occasion its non-negotiable" posted Kali on instagram.

"To my hard working, inspirational and truly talented husband I am so incredibly proud of all you've accomplished.

"Over the past 13 years I've marvelled at your devotion, shared in your heartbreaks and rejoiced as I watched you fall back in love with the game.

"A 14 year journey created the man I know and love today.

"As bittersweet as the end has been I'd do it all over again to hear your fans cheer as you step on to the ice one last time, but saying goodbye in Sheffield felt right."

While Armstrong leaves with no winners's medal to remember his final season by, he has been a 2015-2016 Danish Cup Champion, a 2016-2017 EIHL Playoff Champion and 2019-2020 Challenge Cup champion.

Sheffield coach Aaron Fox described him as "a guy who played the game the right way. A very responsible two way player. I’m happy he’s found a good situation for life after hockey. He will definitely be missed.”

*Great Britain suffered a chastening experience in a friendly with the world's 10th seed Denmark, they were savaged 8-0 in Nottingham.

GB play their final international game in the UK tomorrow TUESDAY against Italy at the Skydome in Coventry, before heading to the World Championship in Finland.