Sheffield Steelers will be able to compete with the best in the Elite League next season, vows coach Aaron Fox
Sheffield Steelers' reputation remains intact, when it comes to attracting new recruits, despite last season's absence of trophies or achievement.
The club may have ended seventh in the league, and missed out of Challenge Cup and Play Off finals contention, but their previous trophy haul and ambitions to improve in 2019-20 will excite interest from players and agents, says coach Aaron Fox, who was himself recruited with the main objective of building a brand, new team.
"For players looking to come to the UK, Sheffield will be a preferred team" Fox told The Star.
"Everybody, including NHL teams, go through bad seasons, but that alone does not make it a bad organisation.
"Anybody can see that the groundwork has been laid in Sheffield...they have been around the top places of the league in most of the seasons in recent years.
"The position the team ended up in last year can be seen as an aberration, compared to previous seasons.
"Ofcourse there will be competition from other Elite League teams, but some teams can pay a certain amount and some can't. We won't have a problem."
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Nor does Fox think that bridging the gap between Steelers and the likes of Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils is insurmountable.
"For sure, we can close the gap," he said.
"And it can be done in a single year. Hockey is different to football (where clubs can take years to reach the top league positions) the turnaround can be so much quicker.
"Just because a team finished seventh, the fact that the financial side of organisation is good (and stable) means players will be interested in staying and coming to the club.
"I will not have to cut corners, financially."
Fox said the 14-team DEL league in Germany was an example where clubs can bounce up the table.
"DEL teams ending a season in 12th or 13th can soon rise to the top, there."