Busy Stateside mission for Sheffield Steelers’ boss

Paul Thompson - Sheffield Steelers headhunter
Paul Thompson - Sheffield Steelers headhunter

While Paul Thompson is busy scouting four games in six nights in America at the moment, he continues to keep an eye on talent closer to home.

Sheffield Steelers’ coach has been studying the playing and training methods of American League outfit Rockford, in Illinois, this week.

But he is keeping abreast of players that may be on the domestic market too. Two names across his desk at Sheffield are Tomas Kurka and Ross Venus.

Steelers made an inquiry to Cardiff Devils early in the New Year when they noticed Kurka, a 34-year-old Czech winger, had been left out of their team as a healthy scratch. Kurka, who played for Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL earlier in his career, scored 48 points in 62 for the Welsh side and is a skilled, powerful winger.

Venus and Thompson have a connection, too.

Steelers need new British blood and Thompson gave Venus his chance at Coventry and has supported his ambitions in the Great Britain set-up.

Meanwhile Sheffield Steeldogs are disappointed at losing Slovakian Stano Lascek, who moves to Hull Pirates.

Dogs said: “Stano was one of the stars of our team, an assistant captain and we would have liked to have kept him at the club but he has decided to take an opportunity with Shane (former ownwer Shane Smith) and the Pirates. His hard working style on the ice was a great fit for our club and off the ice he has been a fan favourite.”

* Great Britain head coach Pete Russell says he can see fire and determination in his squad as they continued their training camp ahead of the World Championship (Division 1B).

The 23-man squad flies to Zagreb on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s first game against hosts Croatia.

Russell said: “We look full of energy and I can see how focused they are ahead of such a big week.

“This squad has been together since the middle of last week and the two games against Poland really helped us.

“I like their attitude and their team spirit. Everyone is very positive around the camp.

“They know the importance of pulling on a GB shirt and I can see the fire in the eyes.”

After Sunday’s game against Croatia, GB play Estonia (Monday), Lithuania (Wednesday), Romania (Friday) and Ukraine (Saturday.)

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