Concussion campaigners plead for help from Sheffield Steelers before Arena date

Today's USA v Canada press briefing
Today's USA v Canada press briefing

Campaigners for safer ice hockey will tomorrow be urging Steelers' ownership to get behind an international charity match organised for April 20, at Sheffield Arena.

Yesterday details of the planned USA v Canada game was unveiled - and 1,800 tickets have already been sold, despite the fact they only went on sale last Friday.

But when an early list of confirmed import players was revealed at a press conference, awkwardly, there were no Steelers on it.

Confirmed players include: Kevin Noble, Kevin Morris and Chris Joyaux, all Coventry Blaze, Matt Bissonnette, Dundee Stars, David Rutherford, Belfast Giants and Eric Neilson, Manchester Storm.

Organiser Kerry Goulet, a former player, said he would be hoping for some positive feedback from Steelers, whose defenceman Aaron Johnson has played in previous tournaments, which are all linked to increasing awareness of the dangers of concussions.

Goulet is also hoping Steelers will qualify for the play off finals the previous April weekend to his event - as if the team does not, or fail to make the end-of-season series at all - then many of the imports will return home across the Atlantic.

Aaron Johnson - wanted.

Aaron Johnson - wanted.

The event is promoted on the basis of involvement of players from the EIHL, DEL, European leagues, AHL and former NHL players.

Sheffield players, though, will mean more bums on seats.

"The purpose of the game is to help grow ice hockey around the world and raise awareness and funds for StopConcussions and the Safe4Sports prevention platform along with local children charities" said Goulet, adding that he is hoping for assistance from city hotels.

Four other similar events have been staged in Australia and New Zealand, where ex HNL d-man Johnson competed.

Committed to the cause: Kevin Noble

Committed to the cause: Kevin Noble

At Sheffield, there will be a "fan fest" and exhibitions from the Sheffield Steelkings Para Hockey club.

NHL figures arriving in April will include Kyle Quincey and Tim Stapleton, while from Germany, Tyler Gron, Rylan Scartz and Jason Bast are expected.