A remarkable crowd of 9,300 will fill every seat in Sheffield Arena for the Boxing Day classic between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers.
It’s been a while since such a number was sold in advance, and shows the appetite for such games.
To win such a pressure game means Paul Thompson’s men would benefit from a winning rhythm we have yet to see consistently.
And whether their preparation is going well be indicated by Saturday’s home game, against Braehead Clan.
Sheffield have lost their last two home League games so they must send out a marker to Panthers and the rest of the League. They walloped Dundee Stars in the Challenge Cup on Tuesday and coach Thompson believes that game will have been part of ‘a process’ to achieve consistent results.
“There was improvement in that game,” he said. “We are far from the finished article but I saw a couple of guys back with some confidence. We are a good team. We aren’t a great team at the moment.
“My job is to work with these players and instil the confidence that will turn good into great.
“Tuesday has to be a platform and we now take the confidence of scoring a few goals into Saturday. Braehead have good players and are well coached.
“They will try and stifle us, I’m sure. We have to show patience but also be creative and then bear down in front of goal.
“The fans were terrific on Tuesday. They realised their side needed a lift and their support.
“On Saturday we need to repay that and give them a performance so they can go home with confidence ahead of the Christmas games against Nottingham.”