Sheffield Steelers star was 'overwhelmed' by EIHL decision

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Sam Jones admits that the axe which fell on an entire Elite League season has had a profound effect on him.

The 23-year-old had been planning to make his debut on the Sheffield Steelers' blueline after signing from Fife Flyers in a two-year deal in July.

But all plans have been scrapped now until season 2021-22, thanks to the pandemic lockdown.

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Hopes of a mini EIHL season in late February or March finally ended when the top league's negotiations with Government advisors broke down.

That collapse after months of dialogue badly hurt British-born Jones, who moved to Canada at the age of eight.

Jones admitted he felt "very overwhelmed" when it became clear Steelers would not be returning to the ice until September.

"If you would've told me last March when the season got cancelled this would happen I would have laughed in your face, to be frank.

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Sam JonesSam Jones
Sam Jones

"It's hard. I had planned my life to be overseas for nine months of the year so things are difficult.

"Honestly, I just feel defeated, you get your hopes up so many times and when nothing ever really pans out it is hard."

All the little things that go with not executing the plans he had in mind have been hugely frustrating for the former Milton Keynes Lightning and Swindon Wildcats defenceman.

"For example, I sold my car and would normally just rent a car when I come home, so I've spent the last 11 months with no car unless I rent one, just little things like that have made life difficult."

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He has been living in two different areas, in Kelowna or Canmore in Canada.

At least he has had some work on the side to keep him occupied, he has his own on line personal training business (search Facebook for Sam Jones Sports Performance.)

"The business has been running well," he said. "I've just been trying to do what I can to stay busy.

"I had the opportunity to grow up in Canada where I had support from some amazing people. I see room for improvement in the off ice training aspect of junior hockey development in the UK.

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"My goal is to help athletes from the junior/semi pro level to make the jump to the EIHL level and succeed.

"I feel with my platform and the set-up of the business that I can do that with anyone in the UK, at a much more affordable price than a personal trainer!

"I have just been trying to get my message out there and get it into the eyes of hockey players and parents throughout the UK."

Jones, who iced 24 times for Fife last season, hasn't had much in the way of playing time on the ice, recently.

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"There are no 'rec' teams to play with, but there are a lot of WHL guys in and around Kelowna that are in the same boat as me and haven’t started yet.

"I’ve been getting on with them and the ice times have been competitive."

As for lockdown, he says: "It depends where you are in Canada. Where I am you can basically do everything but have to have a mask on and with heavy restrictions.

"For the most part I’ve been able to get in the gym so I’m very fortunate."

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