THE CHALLENGE Cup has never really topped Sheffield Steelers’ list of priorities.
But coach Ryan Finnerty sees the competition as an important part of his wish-list towards domestic domination in the 2012-3 season.
“The mentality this year is that we’ve been fighting for the trophy for so long that it is now time we won it” Finnerty said on the eve of tonight’s Challenge Cup Group B opener at Hull Stingrays.
“It’s a much more clearer picture this season how important the trophy is. We have seen Nottingham Panthers win it three years in a row and we are tired of it.
“Our guys want to win that trophy and the others, it is as simple as that. They want go in with a 100% focus on the fact this is the first game of a long road towards the trophy. We want to win on the road and set ourselves up.”
Steelers have not landed the Challenge Cup since Mike Blaisdell’s team including Dion Darling, Mark Dutiaume and Rick Brebant. In January, 2003, they beat Nottingham Panthers 3-2 in OT.
Hull coach Sylvain Cloutier and Rotherham born goalie Ben Bowns will be in no rush to make things easy for them in their first excursion, this term. Cloutier thinks discipline will be the key.
“Their roster is loaded with guys who have played games NHL and AHL. We can’t afford to be sitting in the penalty box” he said. “Sheffield are in form, they are built to win the League we have to focus for 60 minutes.”