Sheffield Steelers: Instant hit Tomas Duba looking to repay warm welcome
If there is one chant you can expect to hear Sheffield Steelers' fans to favour this year, it is likely to be "Dooooba!"
New Czech goalie Tomas Duba was an instant hit with iceSheffield fans last weekend, backstopping in the friendly games against HK Poprad, of Slovakia.
And the 38-year-old certainly appreciated the vocal backing from the stands in a weekend that saw Sheffield win twice, despite only five days of training.
The six foot netminder, who will be competing with countryman Pavel Kantor for the starting role, described the atmosphere created by South Yorkshire fans as 'unbelievable.'
He said the warmth generated in the sell-out stands "felt like a welcome, here."
Duba will compete hard for the starting spot this season.
But he will be 28-year-old Kantor's number one fan, when his team-mate is between the pipes.
"Every goalie wants to play as much as possible for sure," he said.
But he added: "I will support Pavel whenever he plays. I will try my best when I play and most important is the team will win as many games as possible and we will all celebrate in the end.
"It doesn't matter who will be in the net."
Duba said he was aware of the rivalry, domestically, with Nottingham Panthers, who Steelers face in the Challenge Cup on August 31.
"I have heard really good things about this league it is improving every year, every season it is better and better," said Duba.
"Better imports are coming, good English players."
Last season, the goaltender iced in South Korea for Gangwon High1.
He said it had been a great opportunity for him and his wife and children to witness a different culture.
England, though, was his preferred destination as he wanted to get back to Europe after his far east travels.
*Coach Aaron Fox said he was happy with both goaltenders, who shared custodian duties against HK Poprad,” he said.
"I am happy that either guy can win us a game on any given night."
He also said he thought his team fed off the energy of Steeler fans at iceSheffield last weekend.
On Saturday he will be behind the bench at the Fly DSA Arena for the first time, when the team plays MAC Budapest.