Former Steelers Grand Slammer Rob Wilson is expecting a tough test when he returns to Sheffield with his top German side Nurnberg Ice Tigers in pre-season.
Wilson was named German DEL Coach of the year in March after taking his Nurnberg side to a third place finish in one of Europe’s strongest leagues.
Since leaving the UK after spells with Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle, Wilson’s coaching career took him to Italy where he won National League and play-off titles before landing a job in the high-paying top league in Germany
Wilson says that since leaving the Elite League he has seen it go from strength to strength and he is looking forward to bringing his DEL side to Sheffield this August for two pre season exhibition games
“I think in years gone by DEL sides wouldn’t have brought their team in the UK,” he said. “No disrespect but they just wouldn’t have.
“Now with the league moving on so much, the four lines and the performances in the CHL Europe is taking the UK a lot more seriously.
“I know we are and we expect a tough weekend when we come over.
Steelers head coach Paul Thompson worked with Wilson with the national side several seasons ago and the two built up a strong relationship.
“I enjoyed my time working as Paul’s assistant,” he said. “We worked well together. I think we are similar in many ways.
“I moved to Italy and Paul went to Sweden and Denmark.
“Paul’s family are back in England and the Steelers are the biggest club back here so the draw for him was obvious.
“I then got a great move to Germany and so far things are going well.
“I’m looking forward to bring my Nurnberg side over.
“I’m not coming back on a Sheffield nostalgia tour though. This is serous work for both sides.
“I’m expecting Paul to have the Steelers motivated and ready like my team will be.”
“I’m expecting two tough battles which is what both coaches want and both sets of players need.
“Because of our budget spend I guess we will be favourites but we have seen in the CHL that the British clubs can take big scalps. The Steelers will see us as that for sure
“Coming over to Sheffield will be good for my team. They will see something different.
“I hope we can do something similar for the Steelers next year. It would be good for their fans to come over to Germany.”
Steelers’ pre-season is hectic with two home games against Swedish side Sodertalje on August 12 and 13 before welcoming Wilson’s Nurnberg side on August 19 and 20 with all four games taking place at Ice Sheffield.