Tanner Eberle back for Sheffield Steelers but he won't be joined by these popular players from last year

Good news and bad news broke for Sheffield Steelers' fans today.

By Bob Westerdale
Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:00 pm

The club announced livewire Tanner Eberle will return to England for next month's EIHL mini series.

The decision came several days after The Star suggested the 27-year-old was in particular need of some ice action before the regular season starts in September, as he's had no competitive action since helping Sheffield lift the Challenge Cup.

"I'm looking forward to getting Ebz back for this series," said coach Aaron Fox.

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"He was such a huge part of our success last year and hasn’t played at all since then so I think this five weeks is super important for him as a player to knock the rust off and hopefully get ready for September.

"Tanner is a guy who can play any forward position.

"He kills penalties, a great net-front Power Play guy and lays it on the line every single night.

"Ebz is the type of player that all winning teams have. I will have to ease him into it to get his legs back but he’s assured me he’s in shape and ready to roll."

Tanner Eberle is back at Sheffied Steelers for the EIHL mini-series

Eberle will be back on the pad against Nottingham Panthers in the opening game of the five week series, starting April 3.

The Canadian winger said he was excited to be coming back, saying he expected the tournament to be a highly-competitive one.

In 108 games for Sheffield, Eberle has scored 30 goals and 40 assists.

While Eberle will be booking his flight to the UK, there will be others from last year's squad that won't.

John Armstrong had hoped to play for Fox again this season. But having started a job, it isn't thought to be worth his while returning to Sheffield for five weeks.

Aaron Johnson appears to be happy developing his talents in a coaching role in north America.

And Marek Troncinsky's position is a complicated one - he would like to have returned after his team Gyergyói HK slipped out of the Hungarian playoffs but his club effectively play in two different leagues and the Romanian play offs will go on until after the transfer deadline.

The position of another fan favourite Anthony DeLuca is yet to be resolved, we understand.

Meanwhile, Steeler Robert Dowd's team Eppan lost on penalty shots to Varese on Thursday night, in their second play off match.

The four English clubs that will contest the Elite Series, Coventry Blaze, Manchester Storm, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield, will receive support in the form of both grants and loans totalling £2.3m, according to an announcement on Friday.

A further £400,000 in grants will also be provided to the English Ice Hockey Association and English clubs in the National Ice Hockey League.