Steelers winger could be set for return to North America

Tanner Eberle may have to go back to one of his former leagues to make a living.

Sunday, 20th September 2020, 5:28 pm
Tanner Eberle: in demand in America.

Sheffield Steelers' versatile winger played for three ECHL teams in the past, before arriving at South Yorkshire in 2018.

He had been at the top of coach Aaron Fox's list when it came to recruiting from last season's Steeler pool.

But the pandemic lockdown of ice hockey in the UK has seen the 26-year-old Canadian looking at a possible return to north America's third tier.

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Fox said he did not think a signing was just round the corner for Sheffield's top plus-minus operator.

But he said: "There is a little bit of interest out there although he is one of those guys who would fit right into the East Coast - if it starts by the end of the year, he might go there."

Eberle's Steeler team-mate James Bettauer has completed a move to Ravensburg Towerstars, in the German second flight.

Towerstar's managing director Rainer Schan says they had trained their sights on the German-Canadian for some time.

"We actually had James on our radar for a long time," he said. "The current circumstances made it possible to move to Ravensburg."

Bettauer's new coach Rich Chernomaz added: "James has a lot of experience.

"We still had needs in defence and made a good catch with James."

Former Steelers' forward and coach Ryan Finnerty has also made a move.

The Manchester Storm boss has accepted a senior coaching role at Blackburn Hawks while the EIHL is out of operation.

Hawks play in the EIHA Moralee Conference (NIHL N1) division, against teams including Sutton Sting.

Hawks Co-Owner Graham Lomax said: "Ryan’s home and family are in the North West. The Elite League is likely to be shut down for the season, and we’re a club in transition with a very professional attitude with drive and a desire to build. Because of this, it’s a good fit for both parties."

Hawks and Storm have also announced an affiliation partnership, with Finnerty saying: "We are excited to join up with the Hawks and create a pathway for kids to progress to the EIHL level."

It is a welcome sight to see clubs planning for a healthy future - but the latest covid 'R rate' number needs to drop significantly if the EIHL is to stage the tournament they are planning, for January or February.