THE tension between Sheffield’s two big clubs Steelers and Steeldogs revved up a notch today.
The Star has revealed how Elite League Steelers had intended to arrange a “two-way” loan deal for winger Tom Squires with lower division Telford Tigers.
The player rejected the idea though and has since signed ‘next door’ for EPL division Steeldogs.
Today Steeldogs coach Andre Payette revealed Steelers turned down the chance to have a similar Squires deal with them. “We don’t mind having two-way deals with Elite teams if it develops our players,” said Payette. “But what’s the sense in sending Tom to Telford, who are bottom of the EPL? What benefit would it have been for Tom to be in a team that loses 10-2 every night?
“Why not come to us, a top-three league team which made it to a cup final and got to the Play-offs in Coventry? Tom needs to play with leaders like Ben Morgan and Greg Wood. Not a side that is rock bottom for the past couple of years.
“I offered Steelers a two-way arrangement which would help them and Tom really liked, but for some reason they categorically refused.”
Steelers have previously said that they thought Squires would benefit from some time away from his home city and had earmarked Telford as a side where he could make his mark. They say there is a history of home grown players who prefer the ‘easy option’ of staying in Sheffield at EPL level. Payette was also irked at a statement by Steelers official Dave Simms in Wednesday’s Star. Simms suggested Dogs had chosen to align themselves to Elite League Hull Stingrays, rather than Steelers, last season.
“We don’t have any special relationship with Hull at all,” said the Dogs coach. “We sent Ben Bowns there as Steelers had no place for him. We had a two-way deal with Steelers with Lee Haywood and (for a spell) Steve Duncombe and lent them players for their pre-season friendlies. We also had an arrangement with Edinburgh Capitals. We have no particular association with Hull or any single club.
“Tom made a sound decision to come to us- he will play old school hockey and eventually realise his dream of reaching the highest level possible. We will do everything to help him.”
Steelers are rumoured to be interested in Nottingham Panthers long-serving captain Danny Meyers, who was released by the club yesterday.