SHEFFIELD STEELERS: Excited Mark Thomas can’t wait for new campaign

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MARK Thomas is itching to get back on the ice rink - just over a month after the Elite League season ended.

The Sheffield Steelers defenceman said: “I’m normally happy for the summer to come around and relax but for some reason I just want to get back out there.

“In the summer, I hang out with the likes of Jonathan Phillips and Jason Hewitt and we talk about pretty much everything except hockey but, this summer, all we talk about is next season, how strong we are looking and how we think different things will pan out.

“I think all of us keep opening the shoe cupboard, looking at our skates and want to lace them up and get out there.”

Thomas is encouraged by the recruits coach Ryan Finnerty has brought in.

“Colin Shields and Cory Pecker will certainly add us more goals,” insisted Thomas. “I have to say though that the signing of Danny Meyers is the biggest one for me; he will give us that added depth on the blue line. He is a quality signing that means we won’t be short back there even if we have injuries.”

Thomas also has no qualms over the format change in the Elite League which will see Steelers face more clashes with the leading lights of the competition in Belfast, Cardiff, Coventry and Nottingham whilst playing Braehead, Dundee, Edinburgh, Fife and Hull far fewer times.

“We will get bigger gates in the bigger games,” he said.

“As players you want to play in competitive games each and every night. Our conference with the Giants, Devils, Blaze and Panthers will ensure that. I’m pleased we still play Hull and the Scottish teams. It is great going to places like Fife.

“I can see why the conference idea works for them as well. They will play more games against their local rivals and have a chance of wining more games, that has to be good for them and their fans.”