Sheffield Steelers coach wants bigger and better at the Arena

Sheffield Steelers win the  league at Fife - now they will hopefully be bigger and better.
Sheffield Steelers win the league at Fife - now they will hopefully be bigger and better.
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Sheffield Steelers’ boss Paul Thompson has a big job on his hands next year - and thinks a few more big boys in the team might help him succeed.

The coach has been tasked with delivering a third-straight league championship to the club, and improving on an already cracking line up.

And a look at the height requirements of some of his new recruits give an idea at Thompson’s thinking.

While the club has lost 6ft 3ins Rod Sarich to retirement they have brought in three more skaters of that height, centre John Armstrong and defencemen Anders Franzon and Davey Phillips.

The side already has 6ft 2ins Guillaume Desbiens and 6ft 1ins Zack Fitzgerald and Ben O’Connor. And he has added another two at six feet in the form of wing Jesse Schultz and goalie Ervins Mustokovs.

So Steelers 2016-7 should look noticeably bigger on the ice.

“One of the things I wanted to do was get bigger at the back, but keep the mobility, and I had in mind a big centreman who can add his range to both the back-end and offensively and we have been fortunate enough to do that” said Thompson.

“We add those to players like Zack and Dessy, who stopped us from getting bullied last season and showed their qualities as good players - both are proper AHL level guys.

“It is looking good, and while I seem to have spent most of my summer on the phone I am looking forward to seeing what they are like!”

Size isn’t the principal issue for the last remaining slot, that of a centreman.

I understand Steelers have been involved in negotiations with agents representing a Swede and a Czech.

“No contract is imminent and if I have to start training camp without the last new signing I will” said the coach.

“I am not going to rush such an important, last spot. I want a top centreman to ensure we have balanced lines.

“He’ll need speed and creativity, someone who is solid and dependable. He needs to be smart both ways.”

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