The Sheffield Steeler helping out yet another Shudra

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Seventeen-year-old Tate Shudra's emergence as a Great Britain prospect owes much to his dad's genes and his brother's help.

But Robert Dowd, the never-say-die Sheffield Steelers' winger and GB mainstay, has also passed on some invaluable tips to the forward.

The youngest Shudra's dad is 'Rocket Ron,' a legend at Steelers. His older brother Cole has clocked up 165 appearances for the EIHL outfit.

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Now Tate, learning his trade at NIHL club Leeds Knights, has been selected to play for GB U20s in December.

He's done well enough to be picked to represent GB against host team Lithuania, Spain and Romania in the pre-Christmas tournament.

The teenager is absorbing as much knowledge as he can, mainly from his brother, who is also on the Leeds roster and remains a two-way asset for Sheffield.

But Tate acknowledges the help that Dowd gave him in the close season.

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"I trained with Sheffield in the summer and it was good," he said.

Tate Shudra takes on an opponentTate Shudra takes on an opponent
Tate Shudra takes on an opponent

"As for the players, Dowdy stuck out big time, in the way he did just about everything.

"You could see how hard he works all the time; he gives 100 percent in training and never gives up.

"He helped me with things like acceleration, getting out of places.

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"Watching him in training against other players gave me an insight into how he plays and how I should be looking to play.

"As well as hard work, he is a big shooter."

Tate has played the odd spot on Cole's line at Leeds.

"Cole is doing great in this league but he always goes on about wanting to get back to Steelers eventually," said the younger sibling

"He wants plenty of ice time (at Leeds) where he will get that experience of how a team's top players play, so then he can go to that league and be really good."

Steelers fans saw Cole play as a defenceman and a winger, but he is now a centreman.

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"He is really strong on face offs, I don't think I have seen him lose one at the start of a game in this season or pre-season, he seems to win all the draws and is always working on it.

"He is always in the right spot doing the right thing."

As for Cole's apparent frustration at not getting more minutes when he was at Steelers, his brother said: "I think ice time is difficult because it is a heavy import league, everyone would like to see more British players involved."

Tate has hopes of representing the EIHL team one day.

"It would be great to play for them, I definitely wouldn't say no!

"But obviously; I have to be older and with more experience under my belt."

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Tate said as soon as he was old enough to realise the importance of his dad's playing career in the NHL he watched as many clips of him as he could find online.

And 'Rocket' Ron remains hockey royalty in South Yorkshire.

"At Sheffield Arena, it is always great to see he is still popular with older fans."

Club official Dave Simms endorses that view.

He said: "If I won the Euro lottery roll over I'd name the road leading up the Arena as Ron Shudra Way, as our club would not be the way it is now without him.

"His DNA surrounds us to this day and it's great to see it manifested in Tate and Cole.

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"I'd love to see Cole and Tate play a big part in our future."

And coach Aaron Fox added: "Tate is a good, little player. He has got some developing to do for sure but you can tell he has got that knack around the net."

The Sheffield team boss said he would certainly consider playing him as a centre at some point this season.