SHEFFIELD STEELERS: John DeCaro stuns Steelers: it’s no way to Norway!

U-turn: John DeCaro is staying with Steelers.    Picture: Dean Woolley
U-turn: John DeCaro is staying with Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley
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JOHN DeCaro - the goalie who walked out on Steelers for a bigger pay packet in Norway - has had second thoughts and told his prospective employers that he will be staying in Sheffield after all.

The U-turn was immediately welcomed by Sheffield’s management, who had not wanted him to quit in the first place.

The 6ft 3ins American had signed quickly for Sparta Sarpsborg at the end of his first season in British ice hockey but then had weeks agonising over his decision after returning home to Alaska.

While the Norwegians would have paid him 15,000 Euros more than he could earn at the Elite League side, DeCaro liked playing in South Yorkshire and was benefiting from a degree course at the University of Sheffield - something which could be of immense benefit later in life.

DeCaro, 29, somehow managed to extricate himself from the Scandinavian contract and was relieved to sign a fresh one year deal at the House of Steel.

A club spokesman said: “Admittedly, it’s been a hell of a U-turn by John but one which we will both benefit from.

“John was very open and honest with us as soon as he realised he had cocked things up. He admitted he had only seen the dollar signs in Norway and rushed into tying things down there.

“But he then realised he had been rash and started to make overtures to return to Sheffield.”

Steelers had been looking at Fife goalie Garrett Zemlak and former Coventry Blaze man Brett Jaeger, who played in Germany last year.

“The fact is that we couldn’t trace anybody as good as John” said the source. “He has won a championship (at Central Hockey League club Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs) and Ryan Finnerty (Steelers coach) likes the fact he knows our League, the rival teams and their rinks.

“Blooding in a new goalie always has its challenges, but John knows his way around here and we are glad to have him around again.”

Finnerty commented: “John is not only a fine goalie but a strong personality and team guy. It was a brave decision to back-track on going to Norway. And from our perspective, it saves us a lot of headaches in replacing him.”

Some fans thought DeCaro had a weakness in that he went down too quickly in front of shooters, who would pick him off with shoulder high shots.

But Finnerty believes he is as good as anybody in the division, if not better.

DeCaro’s decision will disappoint last-year Steelers’ wing Mike Ramsay - who also joined the GET Ligaen club.

DeCaro is likely to have a much stronger d-corps in front of him in the coming season. The goalie had an 87 per cent save ratio with Sheffield, facing 1770 league shots, which equated to 282 more than Nottingham Panthers’ Craig Kowalski.