Coach Paul Thompson’s first impression of his new Sheffield Steelers team is that he has a bigger and fitter side compared with the start of last season.
Sheffield won the Elite League last year, so to have a more conditioned group with extra depth and size should be a bonus. On Monday, most of his players arrived for training camp around 7am. After an hour or more on the iceSheffield pad, they walked to the EIS, where fitness expert Danny Mawer checked individuals.
Thompson said: “We are very impressed with the way everybody has come into camp. We are looking a lot leaner, trimmer and stronger than last year. They know what is ahead of them; it is something we have been putting to them, over the Summer that we expect them to be a certain level so we can hit the ground running.
“We are a little bit bigger than we were last year, That stood out for us.
Thompson said he didn’t over-evaluate on day one, “there were some nerves and some guys haven’t had any ice” he said.
But the first practice went pretty smooth and “with good energy.
“I am not disappointed, that’s the big thing! I like everybody’s attitude. It seems a good buoyant group, it’s a together group.
It’s going to be a thorough week with practices, training videos, and meetings, he said, ending with a double practice session on Friday, before weekend friendly games with the coach’s old club, Aalborg, of Denmark.
“Pre-season is about pushing them to the limits” said the coach, who said the team would be deliberately fatigued even before they play the Scandinavians.