Sheffield Steelers: The family-based culture that Steelers players love to be a part of - Bob Westerdale

For decades Sheffield Steelers have tried to balance a happy medium when it comes to their culture - the brand which makes for a family-orientated, successful club.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 3:08 pm

The players like to feel wanted by the organisation which pays their wages and the fans who watch them.

Most of them thrive in this close-knit community.

On the other hand, they have to accept professional ice hockey is a cold, hard business.

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There's always a family-orientated atmosphere at the Arena for Sheffield Steelers matches

If they fail to deliver on the ice or besmirch the reputation of the club off it, they're out on their ear.

We witnessed the latter recently with Anthony DeLuca swiftly departed British hockey after failing a drugs test.

DeLuca had been one of those players who had loved the Steeler experience. It was a two-way street, too. When fans cheer individual skaters on to the pre-game ice at Sheffield Arena his name arguably attracted the most vocal backing.

His style of play made him popular and he clearly loved the club too. He was certainly attached to his teammates - there were tears in his eyes when Eric Meland left, for instance.

Young Sheffield Steelers fans cheers on their heroes at the Arena

But DeLuca is no longer part of the Steeler family.

He has signed for ECHL club Trois-Rivières Lions in Quebec, where drug sanctions appear not to mirror that of the UK.

His name will now be discreetly ushered to the margins of Steelers' history.

There are plenty of other players, new to Sheffield and otherwise, who supporters can get behind in his stead.

There are more positives than negatives for the fans; Steelers could be five points clear at the top of the table on Saturday.

Evan Mosey, for one, has been a huge influence on the injury/suspension hit side.

And after his first 25 games for Sheffield, he has had time to reflect on what he regards as his correct decision to embrace the club and its values.

Mosey says: "It is pretty much what I expected when I signed here.

"There are high expectations. There is a lot of pressure to perform and win games. They want to win titles here and that is one of the reasons why I chose to come here.

"Things are going good, obviously, we're top of the table right now, the character of the team is pretty strong.

"To go down that many bodies and still pull out wins, either good or doesn't really matter, a win is a win."

Mosey has yet another new teammate joining him on the ice for the games against Coventry Blaze this weekend. Italian Tommaso Traversa will be the club's latest import.

Referring to the steady arrival of new colleagues, Mosey said: "It is interesting to be sure! We have got a lot of rotation of guys so far, props to the guys who have come in like Andreas Valdix and Vojtech Polák they have slotted in pretty well to the team and grasped the systems pretty good and had success for a hard stretch of the season.

"For those guys to come in and just help the team the best they can has been huge for us.

"As much as it is a competitive team and everybody wants the best for themselves, we are a team sport, where if we all succeed the team succeeds. So it is a pretty good, family-friendly culture where guys push each other, healthy competition is good for the team in general."