Sheffield Steelers: Interest from Manchester Storm didn't deflect Tanner Eberle

Tanner Eberle attracted the interest of Manchester Storm before he eventually re-signed with Sheffield Steelers.

By Bob Westerdale
Tuesday, 11 June, 2019, 09:56
Tanner Eberle scores. Pic by Dean Woolley

Storm coach Ryan Finnerty - a ferocious competitor on the ice during his own playing days - showed an interest in a skater who mirrors some of his own on-ice qualities.

The pair spoke but finances were not resolved and Eberle and his agent were content to commit to a second season with Sheffield.

Eberle can now look forward to a place on one of Aaron Fox four lines.

But which one?

It is possible he could start on the fourth unit - however, Fox has made it clear that if his standard of performance is high enough, he will rise up the pecking order.

Eberle was moved around in his debut season, Paul Thompson and then Tom Barrasso seeking to get more returns out of his speed and direct manner of play.

In the friendly against Leksands of Sweden last year, where he wore the Steeler shirt for the first time, he started with Josh Pitt and Stefan Della Rovere. But by the time the domestic season started, he was alongside the Rupert brothers.

After Thompson departed, Eberele teamed up with Jonathan Phillips and Jonas Westerling.

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By the end of 2018 his potential saw him with alligned with Robert Dowd and John Armstrong.

There were to be other changes in the rest of the campaign, as Steelers tried in vain to find a successful formula that would leverage a consistent set of results.

Inside the club, there was the awkward view that the team may have been asking too much of a 24-year-old, new-to-the-league skater, who had been brought in as a bottom six forward.

Eberle wasn't, perhaps, deemed to be a natural scorer and none of his 13 goals in all competitions came against a top-two pair Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils.

But Fox is hoping that, with a spot of luck, he can contribute more, to the class of 2019-20.

*Hockey bosses have released details of how the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) will be formatted for the 2019/20 season starting in September.

A new ten team national division, NIHL National, comes into existence to sit above the long-standing Division 1 and 2 which are both regionalised into North and South.

Sheffield Steeldogs will join Telford Tigers, MK Lightning, Hull Pirates and Leeds Chiefs in one National conference. Swindon Wildcats, Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison, Peterborough Phantoms and Raiders make up the other.

Under them in Division 2 North, Sheffield Senators will be up against Widnes Wild, Telford Tigers 2, Hull Jets, Bradford Bulldogs, Coventry Blaze, Deeside Dragons, Altrincham Aces and Blackburn Hawks 2.