The real reason Sheffield Steelers lost star Swedish skater

British ice hockey is a minnow when it comes to its place in the stream of world sport.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th February 2017, 8:46 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:23 am
Christoffer Bjorklund - heading home
Christoffer Bjorklund - heading home

But even from within the modest swimming lane it currently occupies, Ice Hockey UK shares one thing in common with those ahead of them in the pecking order: When money talks, you have to listen.And that was the real reason that Christoffer Bjorklund was able to jump ship - in the last hours of transfer deadline week and at a critical part of the season - quitting Sheffield Steelers for Swedish second tier side Mora IK.His contract had a cash get-out clause which allowed 'big fish' international sides to come in for him.If a club waves pound notes - and in relative terms this was a pitifully small amount - a player can go elsewhere.So after 40 games with Steelers, when something better came up, the Scandinavian was off.It was a sickener for Sheffield, trapped powerless in the net of finances they could not control or even influenceWhile it doesn't say much for personal loyalty, you can understand why the 29-year-old defenceman wanted to return home. Mora could be promoted and Bjorklund is hungry for a spot in the Swedish Hockey Leaue, one of the best in the world.Some Steeler fans vented their frustration on Tuesday night by suggesting one of their smoothest skaters was a player they won't miss - accusing him of turning over the puck and giving away cheap goals.That's an accusation that will be lost on the coaching heirachy at Sheffield.Bjorklund was the club's top plus-minus man...he was on the ice for 32 goals more scored than conceded. He was on the ice for Power Play goals more than anybody else.Ofcourse it is a pity that the d-man's decision deflected attention from Sheffield's Challenge Cup semi-final success.And there are players on that roster who you could never imagine would turn their back on the club. But the ebb and flow of players is hardly new. This season is little different to others.Tyler Mosienko walked out on the Sheffield management who resurrected his career. Steelers bosses routinely sack imports (like Jesse Schultz) most years.The difference in the Bjorklund case is one of timing: Steelers had just 24 hours to find a replacement from the world market...mission impossible.But Steelers, at least, have a full contingency of imports thanks to the recent signing of Geoff Walker, and have other ideas to weigh to keep their options open.They had been wounded, initially, when on Monday night Bjorklund's agent rang them to force through the deal.But now they are looking only forward - to a Challenge Cup Final, a League title run-in and eventually the Play offs.Put your money on them winning one of those.