The Sheffield Steelers star who is 'on another level'

In his mind's eye, Steelers' owner and Sheffield sportswear company boss Tony Smith can already see Sondre Olden in a future club shirt.

By Bob Westerdale
Friday, 7th May 2021, 1:35 pm
Sondre Olden in action for Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley
Sondre Olden in action for Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley

He witnessed enough of the towering Norwegian winger - who currently commands a big pay packet in European hockey - to want him back in orange.

One day.

Smith believes Olden was a serious asset to his club in the recent EIHL mini-series and certainly a player to keep in touch with, despite the fact he is committed to playing for Switzerland's HC La Chaux-de-Fonds, next term.

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Club colleague Dave Simms has stated that Olden, a 2010 Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, will earn "ninety grand" from next season, a salary no UK club could entertain.

But at some point he will be considered less valuable on the continent and that's when Sheffield aims to pounce.

Smith said: "As far as he is concerned, you never say never.

"We would have liked to retain him, it certainly won't be next season, but I repeat, never say never. I'd love to see the guy in a Steelers' shirt for a full season.

"He is one of those skaters, it looks so surreal when he's on the ice, he glides, then he sort gives himself a little kick and goes past people, he is a talented kid and we were fortunate to have him."

Smith's view of Olden's abilities is mirrored by EIHL series Steeler team-mate Jason Hewitt.

The forward said: "He was a next level of player. He is definitely an interesting one for the future, he's only 28, hopefully he's enjoyed his time in Sheffield and we will see him again."

Olden had wretched luck in the final two games, against Nottingham Panthers, missing two golden opportunities and failing to record a point in the final two matches.

"He wasn't trying to miss those chances. He is probably kicking himself for those more than anyone else who is disappointed" said Hewitt.

"He'd showed the whole tournament what he can do and sometimes, well, they don't go in and you don't find that luck."

So what were Olden's key strengths?

"The size and speed he can move at" said Hewitt.

"He's 6ft 4ins but he can move as quick as anyone on the ice and his reach from right to left is about nine feet.

"He gets the puck the wrong side of someone and he is round them. He was really impressive to watch; there were some jaw dropping moments with him."