5 reasons why Sheffield Steelers will retain the EIHL title

Dave Simms is the eternal optimist when it comes to Sheffield Steelers.

He’d have his house painted orange if the Mrs would let him. As it is, it’s just the garden shed that got Tango’d.

The long-term Steelers’ official has predicted a championship season for the club for most of it’s 25-year history. And, in fairness, the Brummy rink announcer been proved correct in the last two, with glorious title wins under coaches Gerad Adams and Paul Thompson.

So when we asked him for five reason why Steelers would be third-time lucky, this is what he said:

ONE: “We have got the best coach in Paul Thompson.” The club would be better prepared and structured which gives them “an edge” over their competitors.

TWO: “We have got the best combination of players, we have got a great mix of Canadians, Latvians, Swedes and I think what Jerry (Andersson, assistant coach) has brought in as well, it gives us an added mix that perhaps other clubs don’t have.

David Simms, Sheffield Steelers

David Simms, Sheffield Steelers

THREE: “I think we have got the best British players in the country.” He said Ben O’Connor was the best British defenceman, Robert Dowd was the best British forward.

FOUR: “Leadership, captain, there are people who have been there before. Jonathan Phillips, in his testimonial year: he knows what it takes, he is not a ranter and a raver, but is somebody who can get the job done diligently.

FIVE: Goaltending: “We have got Mr 92 per cent in Ervins Mustukovs. The Moose is back and if he can make 92 per cent of saves I think that saves us an extra 18 goals-against, compared to what we had last year.”

n Former Steelers winger Lee Esders, who ‘retired’ at the end of last season, has agreed to be an “injury cover” player for Ryan Finnerty’s Elite League rivals Braehead Clan.

The 27-year-old Yorkshireman won the play offs in the EPL with Guildford Flames last season.