Video: Sheffield Steelers players '˜distraught' over losing teram-mate
History has repeated itself for Sheffield Steelers, with the loss of Joonas Ronnberg.
The big Finn has played his last domestic game for the club, returning home to his wife and three children.
Coch Paul Thompson has revealed the d-man was the side’s top plus-minus player - which was exactly the case when Christoffer Bjorklund left last year.
The key difference was that Bjorklund left to further his career with Swedish side Mora IK, while Ronnberg has domestic responsibilities he can no longer leave behind him.
Thompson said Ronnberg’s team-mates were “absolutely distraught that he is leaving...but we all understand it. He is our top plus-minus, our top scoring defenceman, he is a big reason why our Penalty Kill is number one in the league, he’s a good solid hockey player.”
He said while some fans were critical of him a few weeks ago, that seemed to have changed, and the whole club was sad to see him go, although they may ice him again in the Continental Cup, in Copenhagen.
Thompson has yet to find a replacement saying: “It is tough, recruitment at this time of year.”
The coach said there had been some lingering annoyance that the team “dropped the ball” by losing their lead to a late goal in Fife on Saturday.
But on the positive side, the performance of the younger players had been exceptional.
Jonas Westerling, he said, had an injury which needed resting.
But Andre Deveaux would benefit from his lack of pre-season training from last weekend’s three games.