Video: Sheffield Steelers’ new coach is in the city – but he is monitoring recruitment opportunities in Slovakia at the same time

Aaron Fox will be more than a TV viewer when Great Britain begin their world championship tournament in Slovakia this weekend.

By Bob Westerdale
Thursday, 09 May, 2019, 23:00

The new Sheffield coach will be training an eye on players who have not committed to any teams for the 2019-20 season and might be of interest to Steelers.

Fox, whose family has settled well in their new surroundings in Ranmoor, regards the tournament as a possible market-place and The Star believes he is undertaking a comprehensive background appraisal on at least one unnamed GB skater.

Aaron Fox in central Sheffield. Pic by Bob Westerdale

"Things are coming together, we've got a nice list we are going through," he said, discreetly referring to player-options.

Fox is not fazed by bringing in a dozen new players to revolutionise a club that finished seventh last season in the EIHL. "At the KHL level we were bringing in 18 new guys a year, so this is a light load for us," he said. "We are looking to get the best available for the right price here, we've got to find our value that way.

“Hopefully they will all fit in and find the right chemistry when training camp starts."

Fox, 42, is a modern, business-savvy coach - he is focusing on forensically meeting the budget; finding affordable players that cannot secure suitable jobs in countries like Germany and Austria.

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"We are looking at some interesting guys and trying to get those (contracts) closed. It is a little bit early but it will work out."

One of the many positions to be ironed out is that of assistant coach - Mark Matheson's position last season, one he performed as a player until suffering an injury.

"I have told him directly that I need a clear picture on the full market before coming to decisions on returning guys" said Fox. "Whether the role will go to a player asst-coach or purely an asst coach will based on my judgement.”

"Maybe people (other teams) are looking at Mark and he has to do what is best for him like I have to do what is best for the team, going forward. But it is a not a closed door."

In terms of Matheson's playing contribution, Fox said he had to work out if he specifically needed a player "of similar price range" like him with a left shot - as he has Aaron Johnson and Ben O'Connor who are 'lefties.' "

As for GB, who start their world championship tournament against Germany on Saturday night, Fox commented: "There are a couple of games that are key games for them. The France game is a huge game, Germany is a big game...a couple of games that are very winnable for sure."