Sheffield Steelers' teenager Alex Graham has not given up on North American dream

Alex Graham says he hopes to return to North America and prove himself at the top level.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 1:18 pm
Alex Graham being mobbed by his Sheffield Steelers team mates. Pic: Dean Woolley

The Dronfield forward was cut from the roster at Niagara IceDogs in the OHL, recently.

It was a blow - but the 18-year-old stuck his chin out, returned to Steelers, scored on his return to Sheffield Arena, and is ready to do his best for both Steelers and Sheffield Steeldogs.

Graham said he had been happy lodging with a supportive family in Canada and enjoyed the team camaraderie at Niagara.

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"There is not much you can do when a guy comes back from the NHL," he said pointing to the fact that the club had taken back Danil Gushchin to their roster after the Russian winger had been reassigned from San Jose Sharks.

Niagara can only ice two imports and Graham was deemed the odd man out.

"He (Gushchin) was obviously one of the highest guys in the league and they snapped him up pretty quick.

"I was gutted obviously, I wanted to be there, I wanted to show what I can do over there but that stuff happens in this game, people come, people go.

Sheffield Steelers' Alex Graham. Picture: Karl Denham

"But there is always a chance for next year...everything could change."

He stressed that he still felt confident he could make the grade overseas.

Steelers had been in touch with him quickly once he had been released from the OHL, he said.

He was happy to be back home with his family and enjoyed the Arena vibe: "They are a good group of guys in the (dressing) room."

Graham predicted that his Sheffield pal Liam Kirk would "kill it" at Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL after he was sent down by NHL franchise Arizona Coyotes.

"I think he will do really well this year."

Meanwhile, Tanner Eberle could be back in the Steelers' side to host Nottingham Panthers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday.

A middle body injury meant he missed last weekend's back-to-back games against Guildford Flames.

Fox said the injury had cropped up unexpectedly early last week but the "warrior" would hopefully recover before the weekend.

Referring to last weekend, Fox was pleased that his players had responded after being "challenged" in a video meeting that followed Saturday's 4-6 home loss to Guildford. Steelers went top of the league with a 6-3 win away win against the same opposition.

Sheffield are a point ahead of Coventry Blaze, who have a game in hand.

Flames' coach Paul Dixon expects Sheffield "will be there or thereabouts fall three trophies" this season.