Steeler favourite's absence was 'not my choice'

Anthony DeLuca is considering his options after failing to make the cut for Sheffield Steelers in the 2021 Elite Series squad.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 9:36 am

The winger, who scored 47 points in 42 outings in the EIHL last season for Sheffield, had hoped to be back in the orange shirt for the Covid-secured tournament.

It is not known precisely why he didn't get the spot he had hoped for - possibly it was to do with coach Aaron Fox needing a centreman rather than a winger, as he filled the import slots.

DeLuca described the situation as "unfortunate," adding the decision was "not my choice."

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Anthony Deluca in his heady Steeler days. Pic Dean Woolley

Asked whether he still hoped to be back at Sheffield Arena in August-September, the fan-favourite replied: "I'm not sure yet, that was the original plan but this kind of threw me off."

Fox takes his private relationships with players seriously and skated round the topic of why the 26-year-old Canadian didn't return.

"I'd rather just leave that conversation between me and Deluces, to be perfectly fair" said the coach.

One player Fox did bring in was rampaging Norwegian forward Sondre Olden who is a temporary asset as he will be playing for HC La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss League in season 2021-22.

One of Fox's stated aims during the team-build for the current campaign was to ice players who might be a longer term addition to the roster.

"I wanted Sonder Olden to come in here enjoy his time and see what kind of organisation we run" said Fox.

"All those things matter in recruitment, maybe it is not this September that Solden is here but maybe in the future he says: 'Man, I really enjoyed that experience.'

"Solden is one of my guys. I had him before, I brought him to (Medvescak) Zagreb, (2017) helped him get to Vienna (Capitals)...maybe he has got a couple of players in Norway that he is going to say really, really good things about Sheffield.

"So for me it is just a marketing tool and a networking ability to bring a guy in like that, you just never know."

Olden has been a highly-watchable contributor to the Steeler cause in the EIHL series, scoring nine points in six games.

He was selected by Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.