Sheffield Steelers team will be AHL quality says Keaton Ellerby
Keaton Ellerby reckons the Sheffield Steelers' team of 2021-22 would not be out of place in the American Hockey League.
The Canadian defenceman played nearly 200 games in the AHL.
And he believes the quality of his new EIHL team will stand comparison.
"The team that Foxy (Aaron Fox) is putting together will have really good goaltending, really good D men, and really good forwards," he said.
"I am expecting it to be a championship team. I know Army, (John Armstrong) Hodgy, (Justin Hodgman) and Barry Brust and when I have mentioned the roster to other people they say: 'Wow, you guys will have a good team.'
"It is an American League team. Hodgy played in the NHL Brust in the KHL Army was a high draft pick in the NHL, Travis Oleksuk puts up great numbers, and the last guy to be signed is a really good D man.
"I have heard nothing but great things about British hockey, the fans are great and hockey is definitely up and coming, physical and fast, it's got everything."
The 6ft 5ins former Florida Panthers star had a reputation for physical play for much of his career.
"When I was young I was crazy and loved to fight," said Ellerby, 32.
"Growing up I have kind of stepped away from it a little bit, but if it happens it happens, it is part of the game, and if the team needs a little pick-me-up, then yeah for sure I will step in and drop the gloves.
"In general, hockey has moved on to more the skill side, it is still very physical and fast but has gotten away from the heavyweights and teams where everyone has a tough guy.
"Fighting still happens and when it does you just have to step up."
Ellerby says he is "super excited" to see how UK hockey works and will take close account of the coaching style here.
"If we love it in England, then we would love to stay there for a few years.
"My son is only six months old so it will not be a huge hassle to go back and forth," said the player, who spent summer in Calgary.
"I would definitely like to play a few more years then get into coaching.
"I have a foot in the door with a couple of mentors who have guided me to do what is needed to get into coaching. People in the NHL have been helping me out, showing me the ropes. That will be the next chapter for me."