Tom Barrasso is set to be replaced by a new Sheffield Steelers’ coach, at the end of the season.
Club owner Tony Smith today confirmed that would be the outcome unless the American team boss has a change of heart and commits himself to stay another term.
Barrasso wants to wait and see if there are positions available at higher leagues in Russia or Germany.
But the Arena club needs to proactive and plan ahead. And when The Star asked Smith whether they could afford to wait for the ex-NHL netminder, he replied: “No, we cannot.
“I’ve met with Tom and it is clear he wants to wait to see if there is an opportunity at a higher level. We cannot wait until April, May or June for an answer, we owe it to the club and its fan base to act, so we are actively seeking a replacement.
“As things stand we will have a new coach in the Summer, unless Tom does a U-turn. We are looking at some very high-quality potential coaches and working hard on background checks and due diligence. We plan to whittle that down to three or four (candidates) shortly.”
Smith has been saddened he could not change Barrasso’s mind. “I like him, he’s a very good coach. He has changed things, helped us turn the team around, we were a tenth-placed club when he came in and he’s done a great job.
“Unfortunately for us he wants something better than the Elite League – and you cannot deny any person that chance.”
Steelers are also working round the clock to find a replacement for d-man Mark Matheson who broke a bone in his foot last Saturday and could be out for eight weeks.
“I have three players (CVs) in front of me, that we are looking at. We must try and replace mark at all costs.”
Smith said that money would “always be available for players, in situations like this.”