Lightning fails to strike twice for Sheffield Steelers duo!

Luke Ferrara - a new challenge in the Midlands
Luke Ferrara - a new challenge in the Midlands

Elite League newcomers the Milton Keynes Lighting have suffered a double pre-season disappointment after their interest in two Sheffield Steelers’ players ended with without success.

MK showed some interest in Mike Ratchuk, the offensive d-man, and winger Luke Ferrara, who were both released by Sheffield coach Paul Thompson. Ratchuk signed for Guildford Flames and Ferrara opted for Coventry Blaze.

Blaze coach Danny Stewart said: “Luke is a a good pro and comes to us in great shape. Luke will play a key role up front and at 23 is still getting better. What attracted me to Luke was the experience he has gained in Sheffield. He has won trophies and played in some huge games and that experience is invaluable.”

Meanwhile Steelers are making progress in filling some of the holes in their own roster, with signings likely next week.

It is important that a quality defenceman is brought in, as Ratchuk has gone, as has Anders Franzon, while Jace Coyle’s wife is pregnant and it is a big ask of the family of the 26-year-old Canadian to uproot.

It is unlikely that all three Swedish players will return - Yared Hagos, Markus Nilsson and Andras Valdix. Coach Thompson has already hinted that he is looking at the Scandinavian market to see if potential replacements can been sourced.

* The venues have been decided for the 2018 World Championship tournaments at the IIHF’s annual Congress, which this year is being held in Cologne, Germany.

After promotion in Belfast this season, Great Britain Men are off to Budapest, Hungary for the World Championship Division 1 Group A tournament from 22nd to 28th April 2018.

GB Men will face Hungary, Kazakhstan and Poland, along with relegated teams Italy and Slovenia.

Great Britain Women will go to Bled, Slovenia for the World Championship Division 2 Group A from 7th to 13th April 2018.

After Congress voted to extend the top flight to 10 teams, it means there will be no relegated teams from this season’s tournament.

GB’s group will be Australia, DPR Korea, Netherlands and Slovenia, along with Mexico who were promoted from Division 2 Group B.

Ice Hockey UK were successful in their bid to host the Under-20 World Championship Division 2 Group A in Dumfries from 10th to 16th December 2017.

GB Under-20s will face Estonia, Japan, Netherlands and Romania, along with Korea who were promoted from Division 2 Group B this year.

GB Under-18s will travel to Tallinn in Estonia from 1st to 7th April 2018 for the World Championship Division 2 Group A.

They will face Estonia, Korea and Lithuania, along with Poland who were relegated from Division 1 Group B and Australia who were promoted from Division 2 Group B.

GB U18 Women will travel to Krynica, Poland for the World Championship Division 1 Group B.

They will come up against Australia, China, Denmark, France and Poland, with the tournament date still to be confirmed.