Andreas Valdix’s welcome decision to return to Sheffield Steelers strengthens fast growing ties between the club and Swedish hockey.
Coach Paul Thompson and his Swedish assistant Jerry Anderson have used their international links to aid scouting and improving playing and coaching techniques.
Thompson says the Swedish influence is increasing across the whole the League, with Swedes being signed across the Elite division.
When Scandinavian players “see what it’s like and how big it (the sport) is over here, then that message starts to get heard.” he said. As for Andersson, he is a “huge” asset to Sheffield, says the coach.
“It’s a big business to run now. I run a staff of around 30 people with players, the doctors, the physios and everything else and it needs two of you constantly working with that. He is an experienced man, a very good coach, very intelligent and very intellectual. Very calm.
“He brings great things to this organisation and ofcourse with the Swedish players that we have they have a link there.
“If I need to find anything out about a Swedish player you get five lots of information from five previous coaches or managers within 24 hours. It is huge for us. Jerry brings a lot to the package.”
Asked about the chemistry between the two, Thompson said: “You want to be working with people who want to question and want to push the bar.”
He added: “I am not the kind of coach that says: ‘This is the way it’s going to be done. I’m not going to listen to anyone else.’
“This guy’s got 35 years experience in Leagues way higher than here.
“So we are bringing him in to make me better, make the team better, add a different dynamic as what we are as a group. And ultimately have an opinion, have a say.”