Sheffield Steelers' prospect Cole Shudra commits to Swedish experience

Cole Shudra has committed to playing for the rest of the season in Sweden, whether or not Sheffield Steelers or Sheffield Steeldogs return to action in the new year.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 2:50 pm

Shudra was recruited by the relatively-unknown Nittorps IK when the EIHL and NIHL went into deep freeze in England.

While there remains a chance that the action could re-start in Sheffield and elsewhere in early 2021, Shudra says he will be staying overseas no matter what.

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"I will be staying here for the whole season until February or March, when it ends," says the 22-year-old, whose all-round game will doubtless develop in his first taste of foreign league hockey.

"The club here has been amazing; everyone in the organisation has been extremely nice and welcoming.

"It’s a very small village where the rink is but I’m living in a small town a few miles outside of it.

"It's population is very small but it’s peaceful - it’s a big change from Sheffield!

Cole Shudra in action at Nottingham Panthers

"But I’m enjoying it and the accommodation is really nice," said the skater.

"Everybody on the team speaks pretty good English so there is no issue with language barrier and I’m trying to learn a little Swedish too!"

Shudra said that in the three games he'd iced for Nittorps he had been impressed with the level.

"Every guy is fast and has a good skill level, we have played pretty well as a team but just need to gel a little bit more and understand the little details to help us close out games.

"I’m playing on defence this season and have been getting so much ice time. I feel like it’s going to be a great year for me.

"In comparison to the EIHL I would say it’s just a younger league so guys aren’t as experienced.

"That means there are more mistakes than a more veteran guy in the EIHL has wouldn’t make, but I feel like the speed here is very close and it is going to help me a lot playing here."

Shudra said he was not the only import on the Nittorps roster.

"I’m here and living with Josh Waller who played in Guildford Flames for the last two years.

"We also have an Estonian guy Artemi Aleksandrov who I played against at the World Championships in Dumfries, a couple years ago.

"Both are great guys and good players."

It has been a head-turning few weeks for Shudra, who launched his hockey career at Sheffield Rapiers in 2011.

Only a couple of months ago, he was lined up to play on loan from Steelers at Steeldogs, where their coach Ben Morgan said: "Cole will play a big role for us this season and will be expected to stamp his authority at least from the back."

But the experience in Sweden should bolster his claim for a spot on the Steelers's squad for 2021-22.

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