In the hockey-free month of July, it is fair to say that when Steelers announced the signing of Andreas Valdix, there was barely a ripple of approval among sport fans in Sheffield.
Few people in South Yorkshire will have known much about the 17-season veteran who had spent his last two seasons at HC Innsbruck in the Austrian
Erste Bank Eishockey Liga.
But Steelers’ forward Guillaume Desbiens certainly did.
Desbiens had lined up against Valdix when he’d played for opposing teams Dornbirner EC and Olimpija Ljubljana.
And he was delighted when Steelers signed him.
“I played against him in the Austrian League for the past couple of years so I knew how he was going to be here” said the winger.
“I knew he was going to be a top player in this League. He has got it all.
“He is a big body, he skates really well, he has got a great vision and great hands so any time you have all those qualities you know something good is going to come out of it. We are lucky to have him on our team.”
Valdix, from Malmo, Sweden, has scored in his last four appearances for Sheffield and is a major factor behind why the side has won that stretch of games.
“It seems we have our Swedish contingent every year” mused Desbiens. “Last year we had Freddy (Vestberg) who was outstanding for us, and this year every Swede on our team is playing really well.
“I have never met a bad Swede, they are all really nice people, and they play really well. Sweden is one of the top countries in the world for hockey right.”
Steelers play back to back games with Cardiff Devils, this weekend, the team that beat them 5-3 at Sheffield Arena on October 25.
Devils have a lot of power offensively and the whole team can produce points, Desbiens said.
“Defensively they have too many guys to name, to focus on. We just have to play our game, and be effective against every line because they are just like us, they have a deep line-up, four lines are playing, so we have to be better than the guy in front of you.”