Youth and speed arrives in new Sheffield Steelers’ signing

Anthony Deluca hockey
Anthony Deluca hockey

A French Canadian left-winger is Steelers' latest addition aiming to bring youth and speed to the Sheffield roster.

Anthony DeLuca arrived in Britain on Tuesday and should play against Guildford Flames on Saturday.

The 23-year-old is a former Wichita Thunder team-mate of R.G. Flath who had a six-game spell with Steelers in 2011-12.

Of Sheffield's overseas-born players, only the Whistle brothers are younger.

Deluca became available after skating in a handful of games in the Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey this season and the ECHL, the latter with Brampton Beast, a Canadian affiliate to the NHL's Ottawa Senators.

But it was his numbers with Frederikshavn White Hawks last season in the top Danish league that will have attracted coach Tom Barrasso. In 47 games he scored 15+24, quite an achievement in his first overseas berth.

Barrasso said:  "We are excited to have Anthony with us. Our team is developing an outstanding work ethic. We are starting to play a fast puck-possession game. Anthony has experienced playing this style of hockey and we are confident that he will fit right in with us."

DeLuca said he'd been hoping to return to Europe in the summer "but the right deal just didn’t come along" he said.

"I went to the East Coast League which was a nice experience but the aim was always to get back over to Europe.

"Then when you get a call from your agent saying Tom Barrasso is interested in you, well you get excited.

Anthony DeLuca, pic from Sheffield Steelers

Anthony DeLuca, pic from Sheffield Steelers

"He is a Pittsburgh legend and to know someone like him is interested in signing you, well right away you feel you want to come over and play for him and the club.

"We did some research on Sheffield and it liked what we found out, what we heard was all good so doing the deal was quick and we now just want to get over and start playing."

Relatively small at 5ft 10ins, DeLuca brings a refreshing optimism to the camp.

He once said: "I’ve always been the guy to say, just believe, and you never know what happens."

DeLuca is a former Alaska Aces team-mate of Ben Lake, who is now with Coventry Blaze and was top scorer as a 17-year-old in the Ligue de hockey Midget AAA du Québec in 2012