Sheffield Steelers gear up to announce two new signings

Steelers have signed a new Czech and a new Canadian to bolster their forward lines for season 2022-23.

Monday, 13th June 2022, 12:18 pm

Neither of the skaters' names has been released yet, but both are committed to the Sheffield club for a year.

Coach Aaron Fox has yet to confirm his strategy for goaltending.

Barry Brust and/or Rok Stojanovic have not been ruled out, I understand.

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While there are some who don't think either will be invited to return, Fox is certainly not one of them...and he has a free hand on recruitment, subject to the EIHL wage-capped budget.

With some announcements likely this week, the picture will become clearer.

Overall, the coach said hiring was going well.

"It's all coming along pretty nicely, there are offers out and we're waiting to hear back.

Aaron Fox is happy with new signings and hoping for returning stars too. Picture: Dean Woolley

"It's a matter of doing the work, watching a lot of videos, and asking: Do they fit? Can we afford them?

"But I am happy where we are at.

"You have to be patient as things change.

"There are some players that weren't available this time last year but then suddenly were.

Cole Shudra contests the puck for Sheffield Steelers. Picure: Dean Woolley

"For instance, Mac Carruth (went to Cardiff Devils, now signed for Herning Blue Fox of Denmark) wasn't available at first for the UK, then a few weeks later: 'Hey he is available!'

"Some guys have been waiting for opportunities in May and June but will see the jobs closed off, the market shrinks, and they become available to the UK."

Fox said he had been a big fan of Kevin Schulze last year, so it is obvious the club will be going hard after him.

The situation over Daine Todd, who courts interest in Europe despite breaking his leg in February, is less clear.

Daine Todd is wanted by clubs across Europe

On the domestic front, the situation regarding Cole Shudra has yet to be resolved.

He was on a two-way arrangement with Leeds Knights, last season, playing 11 times for Sheffield.

The EIHL has yet to clarify the terms affecting two-way players for the upcoming season, so it seems likely Sheffield will have to wait before inviting Shudra back.

Fox had no view on the administrative aspect, but he did talk about Shudra's Steeler involvement, last term.

"It was a unique one with Cole; he played primarily as a forward in Leeds.

"Brandon Whistle was just a notch above Cole (as a forward) so we used 'Wis' when we needed a forward and Cole when we needed a 'D.'"

"At Leeds, he had been in the top six, was a real success and when he came to play for us we needed him as a defenceman.

"It has been important for him to grow as an offensive player there.

"At our level, he has played in a situation where he can't make mistakes or his ice would be taken away.

"So it is good to have a full year in a situation where he is counted on to score, plays on the power play, it gives him a different dimension."

Generally, said Fox: "I like Cole, he skates well and he gave me some good minutes when we needed him.

"It's hard to gauge his pure development, but he is more confident now as a forward and that has helped his game a ton."