What Marco Vallerand said about returning to Sheffield Steelers next season

Ask Sheffield Steelers' fans to identify the most explosive import that they have had on their team in recent years and you'll likely hear the name: Marco Vallerand.

Monday, 23rd May 2022, 2:34 pm

As a player, he has everything: power, determination, grit, flair and consistency.

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If there was any issues with his contribution last season it was only that he wasn't always available to help them win matches.

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He had rotten luck in terms of injuries.

In November, he hurt his knee at Guildford Flames.

At a time he was the League's top points' scorer, he had to sit out the next seven games, including the ill-fated Continental Cup campaign.

He returned with a vengeance, scoring six goals and nine assists in his next eight games.

Marco Vallerand.

Game winning goals and equalisers fell to him over Christmas and the turn of the year and in February, coach Aaron Fox described him as the top player in the EIHL.

But the injury jinx struck, this time at Glasgow Clan.

Now, his groin was the issue.

In the eight matches he was absent, Sheffield went from three points clear at the top of the table (with a game in hand over eventual champions Belfast Giants) to four points behind the leaders.

Marco Vallerand is 'taking some time off' before deciding his next move.

In that Vallerand-less spell, Steelers lost five games, including a season-turning, back-to-back loss series against Dundee Stars.

Sheffield perked up when he returned, although the South Yorkshire side never managed to overhaul the Northern Irish.

So, you don't have to tell any fan at the Arena what Vallerand brings to the table.

But like Tanner Eberle, will 'Vally' be back in orange next season?

Marco Vallerand.

The 33-year-old Canadian left for home at the end of the EIHL campaign and did not sign a contract for next season.

Seemingly, there was one there for the asking, but Vallerand decided to take his time and review his options.

Asked about his plans, he told The Star: "I'm just taking some time off right now."

That standpoint will be accepted by his coach.

Fox has a good relationship with the forward and never stands in the way of any player that thinks he can do better elsewhere.

Vallerand's decision on the matter will doubtless be influenced on whether or not he thinks Steelers can go one better than second-place in the league.

He is a born winner - and wants his side to be exactly that.

Recently, the skater was crowned Players' Player of the Year.

Fox said at that time: "Vally has been one of the best players in the league for the last two years before the injury he was leading the league in points per game.

"He came back probably not 100 percent to try and give us that push which tells us a lot about his character."

It could be some time before the coach knows whether Vallerand - and Eberle who gets wed this Summer - will be back on the roster.